Ask people why they chose their particular career path and
you’ll hear a host of different answers. ‘I want to solve problems’, ‘I want to do something interesting’, ‘I want every day to be different’, I want to have a meaningful impact on the lives of people’.
What if there was a career that offered all those things? The chance to make a difference, get under the skin of problems and be excited day after day. Well, ahead of International Women in Engineering Day 2019, we caught up with a couple of our key engineers – Heather Gibbons and Merryn Hobbs – who told us how a career in engineering offers exactly that.
Heather, a Design and Applications Engineer at Trelleborg, has “always been interested in how and why things work – and what can be done to make them better or more efficient”. At Trelleborg, that commitment to constantly striving towards improving critical components makes Heather a perfect fit for the team. Whether it’s making train journeys more comfortable for passengers or maximizing the efficiency of vehicles, every day as a Trelleborg engineer offers a new opportunity to make a difference.
For Merryn, her route into engineering began at university when she undertook a three-month placement program in the materials laboratory at Trelleborg. “Until then”, she says, “I hadn’t considered materials engineering as a career for me, as I studied Chemistry at university, but really enjoyed learning about and working on projects within this area.” In fact, Merryn performed so well during that time that we invited her back on a permanent basis after her graduation.
A shifting landscape
Today, with industry pushing for greater diversity within the workforce, there are more female engineers than ever before. While that number continues to increase – albeit at varying rates across the globe – there is still more employers can do to encourage females to pursue careers in engineering. Offering her advice to people thinking of entering engineering, Heather says: “There are so many potential paths in the engineering world; you may face some challenges along the way but if there is something that interests you, put in the work and don’t let anyone discourage you with the old fashioned idea that this field is only for men.
“In my immediate team, there is one other female engineer and I am fortunate enough to be part of an engineering team that has never made me feel like a lesser colleague because I am female. A couple of years ago, I became a mother to a child with medical challenges and my company has given me a great deal of support to enable me to maintain my family's needs without sacrificing my career. For me, that support has made it possible to achieve a positive work/life balance, so for women who may be concerned that they might not be able to balance family and work, Trelleborg – and many other engineering firms – are now providing the support to make this possible.”
Since Merryn joined the team, she’s also felt the inclusive nature of life at Trelleborg: “Luckily, I have not experienced any challenges as a woman in engineering, as the team I work for has never made me feel any different just because I am a woman. My ideas and inputs are equally valued in meetings and I feel like a true member of the team.
“While I am the only permanent female member of my team at Trelleborg, we do have a female placement student begin in January who will be part of the team until August.” On having a new member of the team join her in the same way Merryn started her career, she accepted that women will face some challenges getting into engineering, but urged youngsters to “keep working towards your end goals and you’ll accomplish them!”
At Trelleborg, we’re committed to offering training opportunities for young engineers, from placement schemes through to ongoing personal development programs. And, with equal opportunities for all, being male or female isn’t what counts – what does is being an engineer.
To find out more about careers in engineering at Trelleborg, click here