International Women in Engineering Day, or INWED, was set up in 2014 by The Women’s Engineering Society, a charity and professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists. To celebrate #INWED22, we spoke to two of our engineering consultants about their backgrounds and what INWED means for them. Below, former Structural Engineer turned R&D Tax Consultant Flora Cherry gives her answers…
What inspired you to start a career in engineering?
I wanted to study something that was both creative and scientific. Studying Civil Engineering with Architecture was the perfect opportunity for me to do just this.
What was your first job after university?
After studying at the University of Leeds, I worked as a structural engineer for a small engineering consultancy based in London. I spent five years in this role before moving to Ayming.
How did you get into Consulting?
I realised I most enjoyed the people-facing aspect of my role as a structural engineer. I was looking for a new opportunity, and when I landed on the R&D Consulting world, it seemed to perfectly fit my desire to have more people interaction whilst remaining rooted in the engineering and construction world.
What challenges do women face in the engineering world, and did you encounter any?
I am lucky to have entered the profession after many women paved the way before me. However, there are still many assumptions about the type of person that works within the engineering and construction field. I often received emails starting with “Good afternoon Gentlemen”, when I was quite clearly a recipient!
What tips would you give to young women (or your younger self) who may be considering engineering as a career choice/study option?
I would tell any young woman looking to enter the field to know she belongs. Engineering is a fascinating industry. It allows you to be both creative and scientific. For anyone not sure it’s for them, there are fantastic networks of women in engineering (and engineers generally) out there who would be more than happy to answer any of your questions!
What are the key lessons you have learnt throughout your career journey?
Make sure you are always learning. A career will always be enjoyable when you are trying new things.
What key message would you like to get across for International Women in Engineering Day?
Always support each other. It’s the best way for us to keep progressing.