"If companies can actively show that becoming a respected senior female engineer is possible, it makes it easier for younger girls to see themselves in that role and have the confidence to pursue a STEM degree."
Heading into her 4th year of an integrated master’s degree in Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering with Sustainability at the University of Warwick, Dheevn Kahlon joins us as a Summer Intern.
Involved in customer projects and gaining experience in mechanical design and product development, Dheevn is halfway through her 11-week internship. We caught up with her to hear more about her ambitious goals for the future…
“You could learn something in a lecture but putting it into practise makes it a useful skill, which I have been given the chance to do during this summer internship.”
What drew you to Engineering?
What I enjoy most about Engineering is that it allows you to engage your scientific mind and your creative one which makes it such a versatile subject. ‘Engineering’ is such a broad term and there are endless opportunities to learn and discover something new that you may never have thought possible, there really is something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are working on something big or something that may seem small, everything you do has an impact which makes it such an exciting industry to be a part of.
Why is it essential to have women in Engineering and Innovation?
It is no secret that in the past, Engineering has been aimed primarily toward a male audience, but women offer equally valuable ideas which have been consistently underrepresented in the industry, with less than 15% of all UK engineers being female. Gender-diverse leadership teams financially outperform the industry medians by a significant amount, having more women in Engineering and Innovation can only benefit UK business. If companies can actively show that becoming a respected senior female engineer is possible, it makes it easier for younger girls to see themselves in that role and have the confidence to pursue a STEM degree. It will be a much-needed step toward balance in Engineering and Innovation.
Engineers are at the forefront of developing new technology, transport, infrastructure and are essential to shaping the future of this world and how we live. It is so important to have diversity in Engineering, we need women and men, from all different backgrounds to be engaged in the industry so we can create a future that benefits everyone.
What advice would you give to girls in school thinking about a career in Engineering?
If a career in Engineering, or any STEM subject, appeals to you then Mathematics at A-Level is essential. For Engineering specifically, Physics is important and Further Maths will help you a great deal. I took Physics, Maths and Psychology at A-level and began my university journey studying a degree in Psychology, it wasn’t until I started the course that I realised it wasn’t for me. I took this chance to figure out what I really wanted to pursue and explored all the options that were available to me. That’s where Engineering stood out and I made the decision to start over the next year studying a completely different degree. It is never too late to change your mind and having kept my options open, with A-levels in Maths and Physics to fall back on, made it that much easier.
You are not expected to know what you want to do with your future when you are taking GCSE’s, A-Levels or even at university, so it is important to keep your options open if you have any doubts. Get as much experience as you can in any and all subjects you are interested in, it will help you to decide what you enjoy and what you don’t. You can do this through volunteering, work experience or internships. Internships are great for giving you an idea of how it feels to work in that job day-to-day and see if it is right for you. Careers fairs are also a great way to learn about different companies and see what opportunities are out there that you may not have considered.
What are your own goals for the next 5 years?
My ideal job is one which places a focus on building sustainability in technology. Perhaps electric vehicles, solar and wind energy, eco-friendly homes and businesses, sustainable materials, the list goes on. Where I end up in 5 years-time is a mystery, but I aim to be a well-respected engineer working to develop technology which allows humans to co-exist alongside nature and complement it rather than destroy it.