In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11th), Rebecca, a Business Cost Forecasting Contract Support Manager, details her career from the RAF to Marshall.
My love of engineering started at school where both my maths and science teachers were these cool, quirky women. They used to dress in brightly coloured clothing and seemed vibrant, more full of life, than the men in their suits.
After school, I studied for an MEng in Mechanical Engineering and was awarded a First Class Honours for my dissertation in Bioengineering, where I carried out research in aid of a lawsuit related to metal-on-metal hip replacements. This was an important moment for me: it was the first time I felt part of something, and when I realised that I was good at working in time critical environments with lots of ambiguous information. The billion-dollar case went to court and my analysis was used.
Upon graduating I Commissioned as an Aerosystems Engineer Officer in the RAF. For 10 years I worked mainly front-line Squadrons: Tornado, Typhoon and Explosive Safety. Six weeks before I joined Marshall, I led a bespoke engineering team in Northern Iraq recovering two GR4s which had both made emergency landings. I would like to say that was an unusual occurrence, but for three years I spent more time on the back of a C-130 going in and out of austere sandy airfields than I care to recall. Marshall certainly offered me a different pace of life!
In 2018 I was awarded the status of Chartered Engineer from contributions in Armaments and Explosive Ordnance, namely in support of Operation Shader. That same year I joined Marshall as an Engineering Estimator, where I worked alongside Engineering helping them improve process and bridge the gap between Engineering, Commercial and Project Management. Shortly after joining there was an opportunity for employees to go up in a C-130 for an experience flight. “Absolutely not” was my response to that!
Now I lead the Business Cost Forecasting Contract Support Team of Cost Engineers that deliver fully scheduled and costed estimates into the business.
I have many highlights from working here, but one that stands out was being involved in the selection process of Marshall’s first ever Business Management Apprenticeship. Being able to call up a young person and offer them a potentially life changing start to their career was particularly fulfilling.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science is important to me because I believe women and girls are typically inspired by those that they perceive to be the same as them. Whether that is someone who looks similar, sounds similar or comes from a similar background or geographical location for example. I believe a workplace that is a melting pot of people offers diversity of thought and perspective that is only unique if you have fair representation of society. Education is key, but diversity is vitally important. If a woman or girl can see me and feel inspired, then I know I have succeeded in my role as a woman leader in engineering.
My advice for a woman or girl to pursue a career in engineering is: “If something is easy to do, then it’s not worth doing. If being a woman in engineering was easy, then everyone would do it. Challenge yourself, trust your instincts and never give up on your goals.”
You can find out more about International Day of Women and Girls in Science here.