Nicola is nominated and is a finalist for Best Young Woman Engineer. We spoke to Nicola to find out what sparked her passion for Engineering and why she chose to make MTC her home.
My passion for Engineering began at a very early age. I loved engines and cars and relished the opportunity to lead my school karting society (age 16). This initial hands-on experience was invaluable and allowed me to explore a hobby which in turn, turned into a career. Studying for my A-levels and running the karting team made me realise a degree in Mechanical and Automotive was right for me. I attended Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and left with a first-class degree.
During my course, I was supported by Caterpillar. Working in my holidays and my year in industry with Caterpillar I gained more hands-on and Manufacturing experience and knew I was on the right track. Engineering for me is everything. It’s exciting and engaging whilst being practical and methodical. I’ve realised I love the challenges that engineering brings, including problem-solving, and that it is a contributing factor to most Engineering eventualities.
Furthermore, I love brainstorming, team-working and ‘solutionising’, where the sky is the limit! I have always enjoyed understanding how things work and how things are put together. I think systematically and am very process driven so Engineering suits my way of thinking and skillset. With engineering, no two days are the same - constantly keeping me on my toes which I love.
It was love at first site! I organised a visit with some Caterpillar Graduates and was immediately in awe of MTC’s capabilities, set-up, vision and plethora of projects. From this moment I knew I wanted to be part of MTC.
I do believe everything happens for a reason; if I didn’t work at Caterpillar I may not have been introduced to MTC. It was also my placement with the Red Bull F1 team where I found my further passion for R&D and Blue Sky Thinking.
My work at MTC is a hybrid of my manufacturing and R&D skills, pulling on my knowledge of the Construction sector and LEAN/Six Sigma, and much more. Over the last two years I’ve worked on an array of exciting projects. Examples include below-asset utilities, highways, modular buildings, rail, footbridges, new facilities of the future and turbines, working with OEM's, MidCaps, SME's and start-ups.
When I joined MTC, Construction was an area they were continuously developing, I have been fortunate to be able to apply my knowledge and experience from the Construction sector to the programme and contribute in new ways to MTC’s Construction and Engineering Projects. I stand proud of my heavy industry background which has gained interest and understanding from colleagues regarding opportunities and applications, including cross fertilisation of ideas, tools and techniques that benefit everyone.
I am extremely proud to be involved with the Tilly Shilling Initiative. The overall aim is to promote and encourage Women in Engineering, as well as diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Through this initiative I hope to encourage engineers of the future. There are a wide range of roles available at Engineering-based firms such as MTC. However, not many school-leavers realise this; I hope to raise awareness about the excellent and exciting world of Engineering, especially at MTC.
The Engineering sector can be labelled ‘male dominated’ but through the Tilly Shilling Initiative we can inspire and empower females externally, influencing the future generation. As well as being involved with Tilly Shilling, I set up a new Affinity group with other inspiring and passionate women, called ‘Women @ the MTC’. This is to ensure we also encourage growth, development and confidence of women employees internally.
Finally, I am passionate about promoting individuals with dyslexia (and other neurological differences) into R&D and Engineering (STEM subjects) and about encouraging women into leadership.
The recent WICE nomination has given me the opportunity to reflect on my work and journey in the industry so far; often fighting hard to get here. I aim to keep contributing positively to MTC’s success and I would like to see the UK lead by example. Engineering in the UK is cutting-edge and respected, and I’d like to keep building on this as a long-term vision.
Lastly, as a female Engineer, I hope to share my experiences, outline how transferable knowledge and skills are to different sectors and to help others in this exciting career.
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