This month we have a guest blog from STEM Sussex who asked Francesca Loader, a 23 year-old recent graduate with a master's degree in Civil Engineering at Brunel University, about studying engineering and what advice she would give to others.
What influenced you when you were at school?
Although my parents are both qualified journalists and a love of English should be in my DNA, I always veered towards Maths and science subjects at school. This stemmed from a teacher who gave me courage and self-belief when she told me that I was good at Maths at the age of seven!
Another teacher suggested Engineering as a career choice when I was 14 – again giving me the confidence to enter what is still viewed by many as a male-dominated industry.
What was it like studying Engineering at university?
Throughout University I was sponsored by Costain, during which time I completed 3 placements including an industrial placement year.
Undertaking these placements gave me a hands-on, unique insight into the practicalities of working on site in a way that University never could. Not only did it provide me with good practical experience but also confidence through the support of my colleagues – many of whom I still keep in contact with now.
What careers advice would you give other young people?
Parental and educational support is crucial for success. Inevitably, I think only you can determine your own destiny, but having opportunities presented to you certainly helps.
Networking has played a massive part in getting me to where I am today. It’s like they say…. ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ although I’m not sure this helps when I set out something incorrectly and the guys on site have to do it again!
My networking has ranged from my placements with Costain, my work experience with Mott Macdonald at the age of 15, paid work experience with a solar consultancy company at the age of 16, site visits to volunteering events with STEM Sussex, Crossrail Young Engineers, University events and society committee roles.