Photo of National Grid Venture's Net Zero Strategy Lead Louise Guthrie

I was always interested in Lego and Meccano

Coming from an engineering family meant that Louise Guthrie was destined to become an engineer. Now she’s working on her own legacy – helping to solve carbon emissions to build a cleaner future.

Hi, I’m Louise. I’m 24 and I’m a Net Zero Strategy Lead at National Grid Ventures.

As a child, I was always interested in Lego, K’nex and Meccano, because I liked being creative and building things.

Engineering runs in the family – my dad’s a software engineer, both my granddads are engineers and so is my twin brother Patrick, while our younger brother has just started an engineering degree.

As an engineer, there’s so much you can do – you never get pigeon-holed and you’re always learning.

As an engineer, there’s so much you can do – you never get pigeon-holed and you’re always learning. In my last graduate placement I worked on the Viking interconnector project, one of the world’s longest electricity pipelines from Denmark to the UK. In my current job, I’m formulating plans to hit renewable energy targets for 2030 and 2050.

It’s not all about hard hats

The stereotypical view of engineers is working on-site in hard hats but, while I’ll go to see projects in progress, most of my work and the planning processes are desk-based. As an engineer you’re not the person fitting the bits, you’re the person thinking about how the bits are going to fit.

As an engineer you’re not the person fitting the bits, you’re the person thinking about how the bits are going to fit.

I think the most impressive engineering invention is the integrated microchip circuit, which was used by NASA to land the first man on the moon and is an essential component of everything today, from phones to hearing aids.

To be an engineer, you don’t have to be fantastic at maths. It’s more about having an analytical mind and being curious. For example, I studied English as one of my Highers (the Scottish equivalent of A Levels) because I enjoyed analysing texts.

I’d like my legacy to be that I’ve been a leader in an environmentally conscious company – to be able to think ‘yeah, I helped solve carbon emissions’.

There’s never been a more exciting time to work in energy, now that we’re moving away from traditional processes, looking to the future and actively seeking out new, environmentally conscious technologies.