The engineering industry as a whole has long been lacking when it comes to diversity and equal representation. Only 12% of engineering roles are filled by women, and an even smaller proportion – 8% – of engineering and manufacturing apprentices are female.*
Here at Jubb, we are committed to seeing this situation change. We go beyond making token gestures on International Women’s Day by consistently championing the invaluable contributions made by our female members of staff and investing heavily in attracting a new generation of talent into our industry through apprenticeship, placement and graduate opportunities.
Over the years, we have partnered with several universities to provide access-to-engineering placements for female students looking to take their first steps into the built environment. In this blog post, we’re shining a light on one of our talented apprentices who has just completed her placement year at our Cardiff office to find out how the experience has prepared her for a rewarding career in engineering following graduation.
To learn more about our apprenticeship schemes, visit our careers page here.
How did you decide on a career in engineering? And what drew you to civil engineering in particular?
I have always had a very meticulous mindset – maths was my favourite subject at school – so I think the problem-solving aspect of engineering is what drew me to this sector.
After completing work experience at an engineering consultancy firm during college, I fell in love with the problem-solving aspect of civil engineering and so continued to pursue this path.
How has your placement year compared to what you’ve learnt at university?
University and placement have been very different experiences. At university I learnt the core theory behind engineering. While my placement at Jubb has offered the opportunity to put some of this learning into practice, I have also learnt how important interpersonal skills are for this role. To name a few; communication skills, teamwork and time management are all key attributes for working in industry.
What does your typical ‘day in the life’ look like as an industrial placement engineer at Jubb?
As a placement engineer in the civils team at Jubb I have been involved in working on projects from start to finish. What this looks like day-to-day includes supporting my team with drainage and highway design, attending site visits and translating plans into computer aided design.
How has your placement year with Jubb enabled you to grow professionally and personally?
My time at Jubb has been an invaluable experience. I have acquired relevant transferable skills including effective communication, time management, teamwork, and self-discipline. I have also grown incredibly as a person, gaining confidence in the work I produce and in the value I add within my team. Now, I can hold conversations with top professionals and boldly present my ideas and suggestions.
I have also been lucky enough to grow my continuous professional development portfolio for chartership in the years to come. I have been offered many opportunities for development through the internal training provided by Jubb as well as through external conferences and events such as the Welsh Water Developers Forum, AFBE-UK Conference, ICE Emerging Engineers Wales and others.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt during your time at Jubb? And how will these help you upon your return to university?
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt at Jubb is the importance of self-discipline. This cuts across all skills needed as an engineer from time management, commercial awareness, effective communication, team collaboration, and more. Self-discipline is at the core of it all, and I learned this at Jubb. This will help me immensely at university as I will be able to structure my time properly and get the most out of lectures, communicate with fellow students and lecturers, and work collaboratively with my peers.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? And how will the experience you’ve gained at Jubb support you in getting there?
I see myself as a chartered engineer working to help create awareness on the need for more black female engineers in the industry, having grown a community for young black female engineering students (from A-levels to young graduates) offering peer mentorship, support, and advice for every step of the journey.
My experience at Jubb has taught me the importance of working together as a team and creating a comfortable working environment. I have also had the opportunity to understand the requirements for chartership and even worked on disciplining myself to create a portfolio for my continuous professional development.
What advice would you give to other female students who are thinking of pursuing a career in engineering?
I would say to be invested in your growth and development. There is room for everyone in engineering and being female should not stop you from pursuing your interest. Put yourself out there and don’t be scared to challenge yourself because that is the only way you can grow and be better both personally and professionally.
Internships, work experiences, summer and year-long placements are extremely important and add so much value to your career journey so I would 100% recommend them to anyone who wants to pursue engineering.
Talk us through your journey to winning the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Wales Emerging Engineers Award and how Jubb supported this?
I always try to find ways to challenge myself and put myself out there as best as I can. I was doing research for my final university project ahead of my final year and I came across a topic in an area of interest which had developed over my time working at Jubb.
Working at Jubb, I gained a particular interest in drainage design, having spent most of my time working on different projects with different drainage networks. When I heard about the competition, I had just come up with the topic – ‘the impact of the economic pillar of sustainability in drainage design’. To gauge how strong of a topic it would be for my thesis, I decided to submit my synopsis to the competition’s organisers. They obviously liked my ideas, as they contacted me and asked me to submit a full research paper! I received an email a few weeks later inviting me to present my paper at the regional finals.
I presented my paper before the judges and two other regional finalists and after deliberation, I was announced the winner of the award. I was thrilled to have won and am grateful to my mentors, Graeme Smith and Yewande Akinola, and to my community of friends and family who supported me throughout the process.
To hear more about Ngozi’s placement journey at Jubb, watch the video: www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-civil-engineering-including-foundation-year/3663/ngozis-engineering-work-placement/
* Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy – Engineering UK.