It’s International Women in Engineering Day and we asked Partner, Anna Wai about the importance of the day, and what she’d say to women and girls thinking about a future in engineering.
Who or what inspired you to become an engineer?
In truth, I’m not sure.
I was the first person in my family to go to university and didn’t really have much knowledge of the industry. I just knew that I enjoyed the physics and mathematical side of my A Levels and wanted to do something that incorporated them both.
In a way, it was very much luck that I ended up doing structural engineering.
However, during my degree I thoroughly enjoyed learning and working with architectural students. The placements during my course also help contribute to me enjoying engineering. It somehow made sense to be able to apply the principles we were learning to the world we live in.
Which is also why I think it’s so important to draw people’s attention to International Women in Engineering Day, as I personally think it’s a great career choice and maybe not everyone knows what different engineers do.
Hopefully with more visibility, this question will be answered differently by the engineers to come.
How important are role models for women in engineering and construction careers?
Incredibly so. To be able to see diversity feels welcoming to me, and if I was a student or young engineer starting out in my career and considering my options, I think that it’s very positive to know that you won’t be out of place in the construction industry.
What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?
I love collaborating with lots of different people. To deliver a project with a team of people and do it successfully is always a wonderful feeling.
I also love the fact that challenges can come up last minute on site, which could mean coming up with a new solution.
What are some of your favourite projects?
I’ve had a lot, but I particularly like the ones that have a complex engineering challenge. Equally, some smaller projects are memorable for different reasons.
What advice would you give to a female student in primary/high school who’s thinking about becoming an engineer?
Do it! I don’t believe you will regret it. It can be a springboard to other things too.
Not just engineering - you’ll gain lots of transferable skills.