For this year’s ‘International Women in Engineering Day’ we spoke to our very own Erica Denman, an assistant site engineer here at Walter Lilly, to share her experience of becoming an engineer.
When did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
Ten years ago the idea took root, but I only took the plunge five years ago when I started studying in earnest. Now I am a qualified assistant site engineer.
What was it like getting qualified as an engineer?
I recently graduated from London South Bank University, achieving 1st Class Honours degree in Civil Engineering via a TAC Design Apprenticeship. Walter Lilly were very supportive during my studies – I worked four days a week and attended classes for one as a day release student, and once I had earned my civil engineering degree Walter Lilly gave me a mentor engineer who I have learned a lot from. Under the Government’s apprenticeship scheme, I didn’t have to pay fees to attend the university course so that definitely helped. Taking this route to become qualified as an engineer meant I was able to gain on site experience to support the theory I was learning in lectures which was invaluable.
What is your advice for women and girls who aspire to be engineers?
Don’t be worried at all about being the only girl on site – go for it! More women in the construction industry means that it is a more balanced industry with new ideas and ways of thinking, helping to operate more smoothly and in a healthier way. Engineering and being involved in the construction process is very rewarding, and knowing you have been a part of a team to deliver a project is something everyone can be proud of.
Wednesday 23rd June is the annual celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, an international campaign of visibility, which aims to raise the profile of women engineers and encourage more people to consider engineering as a profession for all.