Hey guys, my name is Abby Adamson and I am the Women in engineering careers officer. I am in my final year and I study MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy.
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend WES conference 2013 at Aston University with about 109 female engineering students from all over the UK in attendance. I would hopefully be able to give you guys a glimpse into such an amazing day and to sum up my experience.
The first day started off with a brief history of WES, and how they have been inspiring and supporting women in science and engineering. We heard from representatives from General Electric, EDF Energy, Department of Energy and climate change and attended workshops on topics including personal development, successful mentoring and leadership. I found all the talks inspiring, particularly ‘Women and Leadership’ by Professor Dame Julia King. She is currently the vice chancellor of Aston University, but previously held senior engineering posts at Rolls-Royce. One of the things she mentioned is having women in top management teams makes companies more innovative. Women do make a difference to a company but they are less likely to push themselves forward, less likely to take risks and take longer to bounce back after a setback than their male colleagues. It is quite important that Women have a good support network, role model and take risks.
In summary, here are the tips I got from attending the conference that I would like to pass on to you guys;
- Have a good role model and support network. Quite a few professional women were invited, and it was a great chance to understand how they have achieved their success and how they have managed to balance their personal lives with their careers.
- Get involved in university societies and volunteering activities. No experience is lost and everything counts. Getting involved in a wide range of activities would ensure the development of the set of soft skills employers are actively seeking for.
- Build up a career network by having a LinkedIn account, getting industrial work experience, work shadowing etc.
- Engage in personal learning and development – understanding your strengths and seeing your weaknesses as strengths that need to be worked on.
- Participate in STEM events to guide girls to careers in science and engineering.
- The most important one is to get involved in the Women in Engineering Society at the University. I have participated in wide variety of projects, STEM events and volunteering activities by being a part of the society. It is one the experiences that I would always cherish
Be inspired! Inspire others! Take risks! Why? Because YOU are needed, they need more Women in Engineering!
Next year’s conference would be on the 14/15 November 2014 and I would recommend any woman in engineering to attend