Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Female engineering student? Feel in the minority? Not at a TARGETjobs Event! Lisa tells us her story

Being a female engineering student can often make you feel like a rarity. People react astonished and question how difficult it really is, in terms of studying but also to cope in a male dominated environment, as probably most of us have already experienced.

Getting to the event
When I applied to Future Female Engineers I was hoping to better understand how to get hired by companies. One challenge of the application process was to pass the telephone interview which was a valuable practice for the future. I was quite proud when I was informed that my place was secured, as it was my first serious telephone interview. 

Upon arrival at the Heritage Motor Centre, the networking process with other female students immediately started while enjoying lunch.  I realised how closely related all the engineering courses are and it was nice to talk to female students only, which was rather abnormal on such a large scale but made me feel more comfortable when speaking up and making new contacts. Additionally, the keynote speaker Roma Agrawal gave us an inspirational talk about the importance of confidence to achieve goals and desires in relevant projects.

Highlights from the day
After getting into groups, recruiters from the nine different companies told us about the qualities they are looking for in applicants, the application processes itself and their projects. Another highlight was the team challenge in which each team had to build a boat within ten minutes of team working, communicating as well as demonstrating technical understanding.

In the next session we talked about the day-to-day roles of the employees. It was highly interesting to talk to them individually as I heard the story of a graduate employee who travelled around for quite a while before finding a job and learned new languages. Similarly interesting was the session in which three senior leaders explained to us how they achieved their position.

We also had time to visit the museum, to take pictures and see cars which were actually produced within the UK as well as being famous for having played in James Bond movies such as the Aston Martin DB5.

What I took away
Overall, I can say that the event has more than exceeded my expectations and definitely raised my desire to obtain a master’s degree in mechanical engineering as a female student. It has further given me a sense of direction, where I want to go and see myself in the future. There are plenty of opportunities for women to achieve success in an engineering environment and it is important that we make use of them. As I am progressing in my course and learn through experience, connecting with other students and people, my level of confidence and motivation has considerably increased. Studying an engineering course is far more than studying the course itself. I have been proactive in several projects, ranging from helping to build a car to the construction of a small house in Costa Rica. Take a look around, if it is at your university or online, and embrace the opportunities that are given to you!

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