Jennifer talks about the benefits of diversity, turning her hand to DIY and what it means to her to be our annual Female Engineer of the Year award winner.
It’s overwhelming to have won the Female Engineer of the Year award when there are so many inspiring and dedicated women within National Grid who are going above and beyond their jobs. It makes me proud that my efforts have been recognised by my colleagues.
When I was a child I didn’t even want to be an engineer – I wanted to be a forensic scientist, because I was fascinated by how criminal cases are solved. All the way through school, my strengths were always in subjects that involved problem solving, so that’s how I knew I wanted a career that would use these skills.
In the end, after trying out various types of work experience in different engineering disciplines, I fell in love with the industry. From the age of 16, I’ve worked within engineering and haven’t looked back.
…after trying out various types of work experience in different engineering disciplines, I fell in love with the industry.
After completing my studies for a Masters of Civil Engineering at Loughborough University from 2010 to 2015, I worked for a civil engineering contractor on London Power Tunnels. This job allowed me to work alongside National Grid’s team, exposing me to the values and work ethic of its employees. I knew it was a company I’d enjoy working for, so I applied and joined the business in 2017.
Joining National Grid was a massive leap out of my comfort zone, as I’d only ever worked for contractors on civil engineering projects. But my previous experience has had its benefits – I’ve been able to establish close working relationships with contractors, making sure they work to our standards and develop a positive safety culture.
It’s also allowed me to develop my engineering skills, exposing me to other disciplines such as mechanical and electrical. Generally, being a project supervisor keeps me on my toes, I never know what each day will bring.
In fact, I even got to test out my forensic skills recently, as we had an incident occur on site (thankfully no-one was hurt) and I’m investigating how it occurred.
I’ve faced all sorts of challenges during my career but, on reflection, they’ve made me a stronger person and able to overcome anything. I appreciate the team I work alongside, because they’re always on hand to provide support and much needed laughter.
My proudest achievement is buying a house on my own at the age of 25. I hadn’t realised how many tips and tricks I’ve picked up during my time in engineering, but it’s definitely helping me now I’m turning my hand to DIY at home. Thankfully no-one is checking over the quality of my work though.
Women can help provide a unique perspective to any business, which in turn makes the company a diverse and inclusive place of work. I’d tell young women considering a career in engineering to go for it! It’s such a rewarding sector to work within. There are no limits – aim high and you can achieve anything.
I’d tell young women considering a career in engineering to go for it! There are no limits – aim high and you can achieve anything.
The company has come a long way in terms of diversity and it’s important we keep up that momentum. I hope I can play a part in that by providing a strong role model for female engineers.