My story: Q&A with Faye Banks, director of energy.
You have won a number of prestigious awards over the last few years including the ‘Achievement of the Year Award’ by the Open University Business School, The English Women’s Award for Services to Science and the Higher Education National Gold Award as well as being named one of the Top 50 Female Engineers by the Telegraph newspaper. What was your career route to these amazing achievements?
My route into engineering started at the age of 16, I undertook a Higher Apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering via Engineering Marine and Training Authority (EMTA). This route suited me as I am naturally a pragmatic learner so a mix of theory and practical experience enabled me to rapidly develop my technical acumen. I worked my way through the UK Engineering Specification achieving Chartered Status in 1999 and I became the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) youngest Fellow in 2015.
What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self when it came to your career path?
Never fear failure and always learn from others. Listen to other people’s viewpoint to gain a diverse range of perspectives and ideas that will enable you to make more informed decisions.
How important do you think it is to attract females to STEM subjects at school and how can we as an industry do this?
I think it is critical that UK industry recruits more female engineers, every STEM article, journal or publication I read informs me that the UK STEM skills gap is widening. If we are struggling to fill this gap with the current male pipeline it is evident that industry, academia and government need to help create a route into STEM careers for females throughout the UK.
Can you tell us a bit more about the generation & networks business that you lead at Costain and how it benefits our clients?
I lead the generations and networks business within the power sector which is a very exciting and diverse role. My team and I lead accounts throughout the electrical generation, transmission and distribution sector. We work collaboratively with our clients to help them shape their future asset strategies, we utilise our smart infrastructure solutions to help improve operational effectiveness i.e. removing risk through eliminating working at height by utilising our drone technology to fly beyond the line of sight on overhead line activities removing human intervention. Our consultants are also helping shape local authorities, DNOs and the wider authorities shape their EV, V2G strategies and we are playing a pivotal role in supporting DNOs transition into DSOs.