Comment and opinion
In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, 23 June 2019, Amie Dornan, process engineer at Costain, reflects on her career and describes why she believes there's no such thing as a "typical" engineer anymore.
A report was published towards the end of last year by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) claiming that the global temperature rise needed to be capped at 1.5° rather than the previously stated 2° (rise measured against pre-industrial global temperatures). The last time the global temperature spiked in such a dramatic fashion was 56 million years ago when a vast quantity of carbon was injected into the earth’s atmosphere. The outcome of which completely flipped the world on its head.
Well it’s that time of year again when those of us with children or involved in the education sector hold our breath as we wait for the exam results to be announced. For almost everybody this will involve some flashback to the past and their own experience. For me, it reminds me of ‘first love distractions!’ and a lack of real focus and direction in my A-levels leading to a happy four years at my ‘back up’ university choice!
Through the wonderful organisation Girls Out Loud, I have just completed a year as a mentor to a 13 year old girl. This wasn’t part of the plan, when asked, my inner voice screamed “Noooo!”, but having done it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Not for the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with doing good for a youngster, but for the massive impact it had on me.
When East Sussex County Council awarded the Costain/CH2M joint venture the £300 million contract for highway maintenance at the beginning of the year, we knew we had some ambitious aims to meet. Not only were we determined to achieve measurable value for money over the seven-year life of the contract, but we would do that by having the right skills in the right place
I came into civil engineering – and Costain – as a result of going to a conference organised by CITB at the end of my GCSEs. We had a family friend who was an architect, so I had always known about the industry; I just wasn’t aware of all the opportunities available to me.
I started out with the intention of becoming a domestic electrician, and – to get my foot in the door – got a job as a portable appliance tester, working in car dealerships and supermarket distribution centers across the UK. Read my blog to find out how I progressed my career to being an electrical engineer.
The infrastructure sector accounts for more than 50% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, and if we do not adopt low carbon best practice, the UK will not meet its commitment of an 80% reduction by 2050.