This week we're focused on shining the light on #WomenInEngineering, as we work to close the gender gap in the New Zealand metals industry and inspire our next generation of females to see engineering differently - because, in a time when we should be welcoming more females to address skills shortages, we are seeing the opposite. But why?
- Many women are deterred by pursuing a career in engineering as they feel concerned of being the only female in a male dominated workplace - a catch 22, as without more women, the profession can't be attractive to other females.
- There is a perception that engineering is all about 'dirty hands, hard hats and engines' but it is so much more! Many are unaware of the exciting opportunities for creativity and problem solving in the industry.
- There is an attitude that girls who are good in maths and science at school should become doctors or vets. This opinion is outdated - and it should be known that these skills are excellent attributes that are perfectly suited to engineering where precision and logic-orientated approaches are key to success.
A career in engineering offers exciting, rewarding work in a vital sector where increasing demand for skilled engineers means that opportunities have never been more better than now. If you don't believe us, see some of the successes of our very own ladies in engineering throughout our membership!
Meet Nicole Hsu
A Process Engineer at New Zealand Steel for just over three years, Nicole has had the opportunity to work on various assignments, including a Paintline project focused on improving customer satisfaction by creating and improving a model that simulated the customer order submission, scheduling, production and delivery process - a memorable experience that led to the generation of an estimated product delivery date from factory to door, overall improving their customers experience in dealing with them.
“I’ve always loved problem solving, and it’s nice to be able to make a real difference through the work that you do.”
“For me, I love the diversity that my job offers - not only in daily tasks, but also through the people I interact with and the different production processes that I get exposed to.”
Keen to make a positive difference in a work environment like Nicole?
A natural desire to problem solve could make you the perfect candidate to become an engineer - where you’re able to work as part of a team to improve processes for the greater good.
There are many types of engineers, from civil to mechanical/chemical – giving you the flexibility to find the right fit based on your own needs and wants for your future career path... the trick is taking the steps to assess what they are!
Meet Pragya Sharma
An Engineer at Advance Boiler Services (NZ) Ltd, Pragya brings 12 years’ experience to the New Zealand metals heavy engineering industry. Pragya started her career in India, where she had the opportunity to work on one of her most memorable projects – a 250MW nuclear power plant where she contributed to the entire systems design, internal and external interface points, installation and commissioning.
“The learning experience and exposure on this project was fantastic and directly attributed to my success as an engineering professional - and after almost three years of hard work and being twice promoted, I felt glad and validated in my choice to become a chemical engineer.”
“For me, I’ve always had an inclination towards analytical problems and chemistry, with a strong interest in industrial processes – and I love that every day I’m able to deal practically with real life challenges and design optimum solutions using available resources that protect the environment and ensure health and safety standards are met.”
Engineers are needed all around the world.
Pragya is a great example of how a career in engineering can take you around the world, where her skills eventually brought her from India to New Zealand to complete her Masters project with the support of HERA - eventually leading to her being offered a full time role with Advance Boiler Services in Hamilton.
If you’re naturally creative and inquisitive and think you can show great leadership while also working collaboratively within a team - a career as a Chemical Engineer may be right up your alley. Why not explore the possibilities today?!
Meet Olivia Williams
Now a Production Engineer on the mine site at New Zealand Steel, from a young age Olivia has always been curious about how things worked – pursuing a career in engineering to fuel her curiosity to solve real world problems. A relative newbie to the industry having just celebrated her two year anniversary, she loves the job diversity her role gives her and how every day is different.
“One day I can be working on complex problems at my desk, and the next I can be out in the field working around mining machines.”
“It’s exciting to managing trackshifts (conveyor movements) – it’s a task that has been carried out for over 30 years, and it’s really rewarding to be a part of this history as well as working towards finding more efficient and safer ways of doing things.”
Do you have a natural curiosity for how things work like Olivia?
Production engineers (also known as chemical or mechanical engineers) are always investigating problems and faults to find ways to improve efficiencies in manufacturing and production processes, working both in office environments and out on the field to keep projects on track for success.
If you have an enthusiasm and willingness to learn, getting yourself a technical background through education and on the job training is a great step in pursuing a career like Olivia’s – so what are you waiting for?!
Meet Haiam Abbas
A Research Engineer focused on heat transfer for clean energy technology, who directly and indirectly has been in the industry for over 20 years, Haiam brings a unique combination of computational design, computer analysis and experiment skills that allow her to write equations, predict performance and integrate value engineering into the lifecycle of a project - from early design stage, to production and market entry.
“Since I was little, I had a passion for inventions and how scientists discovered electricity and created the laws of mathematics, new tools, books and theories – and I dreamed about how one day I too, could play a role in devising new techniques and approaches.”
“Today, I’m able to find solutions for industrial problems by improving performance, decreasing the size of technology so it’s more cost effective and producing designs that are able to help our member companies so they can effectively compete against larger engineering companies both nationally and abroad. It’s certainly challenging, but the reward of being able to leave my mark on a project and make a real difference makes it all worth it.”
Do you think you have what it takes to be a research engineer?
Whether studying chemical or physical engineering there is always an element of research to it – calling for staff to carry out tests, experiments and analysis to achieve more informed and smarter solutions.
If you’re interested in taking the basics of science to a more in-depth understanding or would love a career that allows you to think outside the box, put ideas to the test and challenge your mind – studying to become a chemical/process engineer or science technician could be your calling!
Meet Nine Groeneveld
A recent Student Intern at HERA, she joined us from the Netherlands for a six month secondment to help drive our wave and tidal energy research and development project for our heavy engineering membership.
While Nine's principle studies are in Coastal & Marine Management, her interest in oceans providing a reliable and sustainable source of energy made her a perfect fit for our work which looks to explore New Zealand’s marine engineering capability in the metals industry.
Nine is only just starting to pave her future career path, but she looks forward to working in a role where she can see how technology is developed and implemented, and having a good working relationship with engineers in the projects she manages.
“As an intern, I’ve had the chance feel like I’m delivering real value to a project and team in a working environment, and the mentoring opportunities have been fantastic.”
“I’ve learnt that everyone offers different perspectives and personalities to a team – and working with a select group of people at HERA showed me how different roles, nationalities and genders really create an interesting work environment.”
Are you just starting to explore a career pathways like Nine?
Just because you might not initially be drawn to engineering as a future role, don’t rule it out completely… your general interests might make you a great fit just like Nine. Don’t forget that there are many types of engineering roles – and as a heavy engineering research association, we know a career in this industry can really open the door to opportunity.
Meet Troy Coyle... and some of her work colleagues!
When she isn’t at HERA as a representative on our Executive Board, Troy is busy being the Manager of Innovation and Product Development & Pacific Islands Export Manager at Bluescope Steel, a role that sees her cross across many fields - including engineering. With a career journey spanning 16 years, she has had the opportunity to specialise in biotechnology and engineering projects, and at one stage managed a region strong in engineering at Illawarra, Australia!
“I truly love my role and the challenges it brings me in learning new technologies and disciplines.”
“A stand out for me has to have been the opportunity to prepare a grant application to create the Sustainable Building Research Centre at the University of Wollongong – it matched all of my passions, and after successfully obtaining a $25.1 million grant, now stands as a beautiful ‘Living Building Challenge’ accredited structure on their innovation campus.”
Does the idea of driving technology innovation appeal to you?
Being an engineer or even working with them holds an opportunity for you to change the world - enabling innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day.
Whether you see yourself acquiring innovation through creativity, developing it through your own expertise and skills or growing it by managing and fostering an innovation culture – an engineering career could just be the pathway you need. Click here to start planning!
Meet Jessica Halim
A Production Engineer in the Pipe and Light Plate Plant at New Zealand Steel.
Starting off as a Graduate Engineer, in just over three short years Jessica has had the privilege of working in three different departments before securing her current role - where she’s been able to implement creative thinking and work with an amazing group of people who deliver solutions that eventually improve the quality of everyday life.
Jessica’s most memorable project is when she helped implement automation to improve traceability – here she was able to collaborate with experts in IT and System Analysis to identify problems and find ways to solve them so they could move forward.
“In my job I believe leadership, good teamwork and organisations skills are key to ensuring everything is done well, efficiently and for the benefit of everyone.”
“This role allows you to be hands on to the problem, follow through the improvement process, eliminate issues and improve efficiencies by implementing engineering applications.”
Do you see yourself as a problem solver?
Production engineers (also known as chemical or mechanical engineers) are renowned for designing and giving advice to buildings, machines and tools – investigating problems and faults to find ways to improve manufacturing and production processes.
There’s definitely a strong demand for people who have these skills – so if this sounds like you click here to find out more.
Meet Sheri Javadian
A Lead Structural Engineer for Blue Barn Consulting Ltd with almost 14 years under her belt, her most memorable project has been working on the Spark Data Centre facility in Takanini where she was responsible for delivering the design of New Zealand’s first base isolated data facility!
“I was a maths and physics enthusiast during high school, and the practical aspects of engineering really appealed to me.”
“What I love most about my role is being able to see my work come to life, and of course being challenged in what I do.”
Keen to be a structural engineer like Sheri?
Structural engineers design structures to withstand stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use – ensuring they remain stable and secure to keep our communities safe.
Sheri thinks a good combination of technical, people and personal skills are great assets to have in her role – if you think you have them, why not consider pursuing a career like hers? Click here.