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Monday, 05 February 2018 00:00

Year of Engineering: An Interview with Dame Judith Hackitt

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To mark the Year of Engineering we have a guest blog from our Chair, Dame Judith Hackitt. In this Q&A inteview Dame Judith explains why she chose engineering as a career route and what her Year of Engineering plans are.



Q: What inspired you to become an engineer?

A: A love of science! Wanting to use science to find practical solutions and applying science in the real world.

I always knew in school that I really enjoyed science and that was going to be part of my life. Initially I thought I would become a teacher. I was interested in wanting to know how to explain things, especially why science was so important to the world. I always wanted to help inspire others to like science as much as I did. I decided to study engineering at university, and having done my engineering degree and going out to work in industry I enjoyed it so much that I gave up on becoming a teacher. And I've loved it, absolutely loved it!

Q: Describe engineering in 3 words?

A: Problem-solving, creative and teamwork

Q: What does a typical day as an engineer involve?

A: There is no such thing as a typical day. That is one of the things I love about this profession. It is so varied; you get the chance to get involved in all sorts of conversations with all sorts of people, tackling all sorts of problems. You're always working in teams with other people, solving different problems. You always get to work with and interact with other people and that spark that comes from a group of people coming together bouncing ideas, formulating solutions – and when you get there and think, that's it, that's brilliant!

Q: What one piece of advice you would give to a young person thinking about a career in engineering?

A: Stop thinking, and go and do it. Go and experience it because once you do, you'll love it!

All too often when you read prospectuses for engineering it focuses too much on science and maths, you don't actually need science and maths to be an engineer – you need to have the ability to solve problems.

Q: How can we encourage more women into engineering?

A: I don't see this as a how do we get more women into engineering, rather I think this is about how do we open up engineering so that it is much more accessible to more people – including women and people from more diverse backgrounds. Because to become an engineer, there are so many different routes to take for example apprenticeships. But also through design courses – people who love design and technology, people who do the more artistic side of design and technology can still become engineers. The more people that can see the opportunities the better.

Q: What will you be doing this year to support Year of Engineering?

A: I will be encouraging more people to see engineering for the rewarding and fascinating career it is. Therefore, it is important we get more young people who are already in engineering to inspire the next generation and to follow behind them. It is such a rapidly changing world that my experience is much less relevant than students who graduated in the last five years. For me it is about encouraging people who are much younger than me, to become the role models for the next generation.

This article has been re-produced with the kind permission of the EEF. View the original article here.

Read 3681 times Last modified on Monday, 05 March 2018 16:32