One of our brilliant Budding Brunels students, Tayo, wrote an excellent piece for the Guardian about her thoughts on being a female engineer and her experiences on the Budding Brunels Rail course.
You can read the original here.
As a female engineer, I aim to design rockets. I want other girls to be equally ambitious.
Being the only girl to do an engineering diploma in my school year group has not stood in the way of my ambition to design aeroplanes or work at Nasa.
Each time I tell a friend that I’m studying engineering because I want to design aeroplanes, I get more or less the same reaction, along the lines of: “Wow, you must be really smart.”
Many of my female friends appear to think my goals are unreachable for them, and male friends seem to admire it as something extraordinary. I hope to see these views change in the next 10 years or so. Engineering needs to be seen differently, not as a tough subject or one specifically for men. It can be challenging, but it’s all about mindset and vision.
Engineers design, or gauge designs to ensure that they meet engineering principles and that they are feasible. Aerospace engineers do this for aircraft including satellites, spacecraft and aeroplanes. They oversee every stage from the design to the development of the physical products to ensure they will be safe and efficient.
Growing up, I saw myself at Nasa, working on space research or designing rockets and satellites. For me, that is height of success. I’m no less ambitious now, but I want to take part in smaller projects such as designing aeroplanes or jets, to build up my knowledge and experience. When I graduate from my aerospace engineering course at the University of Hertfordshire, I’d like to be a project manager for Rolls-Royce, designing engines for aircraft, or be part of the design team for British Airways.
I was in year 9 when I decided engineering would be my career. My school had a visit from Edexcel, offering GCSE engineering places for 10 students. I was surprised to find I was the only girl to show any interest – I had never really thought of engineering as being male-dominated. I even attempted, to no avail, to convince a friend to join me. However, I had this new goal and nothing was going to stop me. My initial concerns of being the only girl were soon forgotten and I got my engineering diploma worth seven GCSEs, in which my lowest grade was an A.
Despite my interest in engineering I still thought, like many, that construction only involved manual labour. But that changed in year 13, when my physics teacher offered a few students the opportunity to take part in a three-day Construction Youth Trust course, Budding Brunels Rail.
The course cemented my decision to become an engineer and gave me a wealth of knowledge.
I learnt about the different roles within engineering and construction, including project management, health and safety and architecture.
I’ve also really enjoyed, as part of the Budding Brunels course, doing a week-long placement with Network Rail, working with the project implementation team. I sat in during meetings, which helped me link theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios. I went on site visits where I saw blueprints come to life, brick by brick, and was able to appreciate construction engineering in a way I never imagined before.
By Temitayo Adedipe
We run the Budding Brunels course on a regular basis during term time and welcome potential corporate partners, schools or students to get in touch if they are interested in finding out more. Find upcoming courses here.