What attracted you to a career in the engineering sector?
Engineering was not originally a career option for me. I enjoyed physics a lot during my A-levels and wanted a career where I could apply my mathematical knowledge. I found that engineering had a lot of application of maths.
I chose civil engineering in particular as I have always been interested in the transportation sector. This was probably the influence of my childhood where I grew up in a developing country, Malawi, where roads and links are of a poor standard.
I saw how people suffered due to the lack of attention given to the transport sector by the government. Therefore, highways and transport have always intrigued me as I feel it they are vital to everybody's lives and can boost a country's economy.
Why did you choose Balfour Beatty?
Balfour Beatty provides a lot of support and career enhancing opportunities, which leads graduates like me to develop their career in a tailored manner. This way I will be able to build a strong foundation to my career.
Balfour Beatty provides a friendly, positive and encouraging working environment where I can develop my career whilst making positive contribution to the company and to the industry.
The company is known to be a uniquely diverse company where I will be able to fit in and provide that multiculturalism as I belong to a range of backgrounds, which consists of British, African and Asian.
Please tell us about your experience of being a woman working in the engineering sector to date.
It took some time getting used to the site environment and being the only woman on site. At first it was overwhelming but once I settled in, I had the best experience of my life. I felt like I grew as a person. I became more confident in communicating with everyone and started enjoying every aspect of my daily job.
Please provide a brief overview of your job role/s in the engineering sector to date.
I have worked as a site-based engineer for most of my time here at Balfour Beatty. My work consists of keeping up with the activities on site, making sure the workforce are well informed on which activities are to be done on site and what the requirements are.
I make sure the works are done correctly and on time according to the programme. I do spend time in the office doing calculations and drawings of work, sorting paperwork out such as Risk Assessments and Method Statement (RAMS), check sheets, task briefing sheets and keeping up with my site diary every day.
I also have to effectively communicate with my team regarding any issues or concerns I have with work or on site and make sure health and safety on site is maintained. Additionally, I carried out a three-month secondment into the Process Improvement Team where I looked into how we can improve quality within the business with various professionals across the business.
Do you have any advice for others considering entering the construction/engineering sector?
Yes - always strive for more even if others around you are discouraging. Do what makes you happy.
At the end of the day you are driving your career and no one can drive it better than you, with your hard work and commitment. Always do what you enjoy, and if a point comes where you stop enjoying it, I suggest you try something new (i.e. rotate to other sectors within the industry as it is so vast).
What are your future career aspirations?
I want to become a successful Chartered Engineer, working on various dynamic projects in the United Kingdom and abroad. Along the way I want to inspire as many young people into joining this profession especially females from minority ethnic groups.
Also, I would like to carry out humanitarian work in Malawi in the future as a means of giving back to the country where I grew up.
What is your standout memory/ proudest moment of being a woman in engineering so far?
I was recently selected as a finalist at the European Women in Construction and Engineering (WICE) Awards in the category ‘Best Young Women in Construction’. I was really proud of myself to have been recognised for my efforts and hard work I have put into this industry and my job as an Engineer.