25th June 2019

“Getting to solve problems” and “Helping to shape the community around me” – why we love being engineers for INWED

Sunday saw International Women in Engineering Day take place across the country, as well as celebrating 100 years of the Women in Engineering Society. At Civic Engineers, 40% of our engineers are female and whilst we’re extremely proud of this, we think it’s important to stress that we don’t recruit them because they’re female, we recruit them because they are brilliant engineers. As Caroline Todd, who oversees our recruitment says, “ Engineering in essence is about being curious and wanting to problem solve to come out with the most ingenious solution. The more diverse our team is, the better our solutions are but the priority for us is to recruit brilliant engineers. Engineering is a profession that should be gender neutral but traditionally it has been predominantly boys who have been encouraged so we have purposefully set out to raise awareness of engineering as a rewarding profession for girls as well as boys. We also set out to dispel the myth that it’s full time or nothing, you can have children and have a senior role in our practice.”

So here’s what some of our team across our Studios had to say about what their favourite part of being an engineer in 2019 is, starting with our Associate Director, Leah Stuart;

“As an engineer, I get to find out about how the world works and contribute to make it a better place. It’s a career where I am continually learning and I get to collaborate with lots of interesting people. 

Earlier this year I visited the Climate Innovation District in Leeds and saw the rain gardens designed by Civic Engineers, planted by the man in this picture, Claude. It was a great example of functional design as part of an attractive and edible landscaping scheme – a multitasking engineering approach which gets lots of value out of one piece of infrastructure. 

I also get to design streets, like this sketch I produced for Wolverhampton, and then work my sketches up with technical details, get the support of stakeholders and then eventually, see them constructed in towns and cities across the UK.  It’s great to be able to go to a fantastic place and say “I did this!”

Eloise Moir-Mattox, commented,” My favourite thing about being an Engineer is solving problems and using my experience and knowledge to help shape the community around me.

It’s a great feeling standing out on a road, roundabout or even an entire residential development and getting to say, I was a part of this, I helped make this happen.”

Whilst one of our engineers talked about the often incorrect perception of what engineers are there for, “I love how varied engineering is, it is an endlessly creative expression of our desire to change the way we interact with the world. There is often the perception that architects are the creatives and engineers are just equations, however I believe that the beautiful architecture that exists in the world would not be possible without the creativity of engineers. It’s taking those equations and manipulating them to push the boundaries of what is physically possible.

And finally, Jess Foster from our London team touched on the important issue of how we need to transform the future for our working Mums, so that across the board it is possible to return to engineering. “The number of girls going into engineering is improving but there aren’t really many engineers who are women with school age kids. It feels like I, and a few others, are very much at the front of the wave and we are trying to figure out how to do it. Mums in other industries and walks of life are doing this all the time but there are very few role models in engineering at the moment. I am in touch with a couple of engineers in a similar situation to me and it’s good to have someone to check in with. We are such a small group that solidarity is important.”

Given these comments, it seems the message is clear, whilst the number of women going into engineering is improving and it is crucial we do what we can to raise awareness of this fantastic profession. For us to truly #transformthefuture though we still have some way to go, particularly when it comes to returners and moving people away from the idea that to have a career you have to be full time.

“Getting to solve problems” and “Helping to shape the community around me” – why we love being engineers for INWED