Tomorrow here at MCSA we will join those around the world to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day. With women comprising less than 10% of professional engineers in Britain, we sat down with Leigh Coyle, Project Manager at MCSA, to find out why she would encourage other women to join the industry.
What attracted you to a career in engineering?
At school I always had a real passion for anything maths and science related. It was only when I attended an open day at Strathclyde University based around women in engineering, that I started to consider it as a viable career.
Tell us about your career path so far
Since completing my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, one of my first roles was in electrical and electronic engineering and since then I have had a variety of different positions, both hands on and strategic, in various types of engineering; from software, manufacturing through to leadership and management. My experience ranges from working within small businesses to large international organisations. I am fortunate to have developed my career in every role I’ve had and since joining MCSA in 2015 that has been no different here.
What is your favourite part of your role at MCSA?
I would have to say the how varied my job is. I work across multiple projects and programmes and although it may sound clichéd, no day is ever the same. On a Monday I could be visiting a client and then on Thursday I could be in the office planning for the next month or quarter. I am fortunate to have a supportive team around me which certainly makes my job easier.
Today the number of women working in engineering is still relatively low and certainly more needs to be done to change this. A big challenge for women is standing up against the stereotype of the types of careers women should and should not be working in. Stereotypes and biases are often the root cause of the issue and can cause a lot of self-doubt for women working or wanting to work in engineering. You need to have an unswerving confidence in your own abilities and need a positive outlook especially during the more challenging times.
What do you think women bring to engineering?
Irrespective of your gender, one of the great things about the working world is people bring different views and perspectives to daily problems and tasks. The men I work alongside often will see something I haven’t and vice versa. It has had a positive impact on our work and it is great to be able to bounce ideas between us. Diversity is key for making a team productive and successful.
Who inspires you?
While working for a large multinational company in the US I worked with several inspirational women. Over the years I worked with a colleague who became a bit of a mentor to me and coached me in both personal and professional elements. She taught me about establishing a work life balance, how to achieve your goals and how to manage your aspirations and expectations.
What advice would you give to a woman thinking of a career in engineering?
I would encourage women to take a leap of faith and take advantage of any programmes that might be available to them to find out more about what a career in engineering entails. Work experience, apprenticeships and internships are a great way to gain exposure. I have been lucky enough to gain experience in various fields of engineering, allowing me to find the areas I enjoy the most. It is important to find the right role for you and this only comes with experience and trying new things.