INWED is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. Celebrating its seventh year in 2019, INWED focuses attention on the remarkable careers available in engineering and technical roles for women.
Women in STEM are generally underrepresented, but this is particularly apparent in engineering. In 2018, just 12% of the engineering workforce was female with only 25% of girls aged 16-18 considering a career in engineering compared to 52% of boys.
We caught up with our Power department’s Project Manager, Alex Parmley, to discuss experiences within her career, including what can be done in the industry to create a more diverse working environment and #ShapetheWorld.
Tell us about your job role…
I am a Project Manager for the power department at Morson Projects. I work on bids helping to develop costs and preliminary programmes, then once a job is won I plan the work and keep it running on programme, make sure that the resources are in the right place on time, and that site health and safety policy and procedures are in place, as well as creating and keeping up to date the project documentation and reporting for the client. I also attending meetings to co-ordinate work on site, update the client on progress and monitor the budget making sure any scope variations are captured.
Why did you choose an engineering career path?
When I was 12, I went to NASAs Kennedy Space Centre and saw space shuttle endeavour on the launch pad, then a few days later I saw it fly overhead after its launch, and that’s when I decided I wanted to be an engineer.
What are your career highlights so far?
My first job out of university was in civil engineering, so working on MUFCs Old Trafford seating extension, chill Factore and Barton Square were highlights at the very beginning of my career. Since working for Morson Projects, the time I spent carrying out stress analysis for BAE systems, the development of project management policies and procedures for Hawker Beechcraft and completing my first on site protection replacement project for National Grid have been highlights for me. I think the biggest highlight so far though has definitely been becoming a chartered engineer.
What do you think the industry could do to promote a more diverse working environment?
I think the main point is that it’s not just up to women in engineering to promote diversity – it’s up to all of engineers to do it. It needs to start at an early age in primary schools, girls need to go into high school knowing an engineering career is an option. As an industry, more women need to be in senior positions – if women can’t see a career path and route to attaining such positions it will be off-putting to join the industry.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Continuing to further my expertise in the power sector and being involved in larger projects, also using the skills I have gained from the management apprenticeship I have just completed to take on more of a managerial role.
What advice can you offer to women who would like to pursue a career in engineering?
Be fearless, don’t believe in stereotypes, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Being an engineer isn’t about just being good at maths and physics or being able to take things apart, it’s about being inquisitive, seeking knowledge, problem solving and multitasking.
To find out more about International Women in Engineering Day please visit www.inwed.org.uk