Women In Engineering – Insight into Katie Ferguson
Graduate Design Engineer
My name is Katie Ferguson and my job title is Graduate Design Engineer. I studied at the University of Abertay in Dundee and I graduated with a First Class Honours Bsc in Civil Engineering. I have been really lucky in landing the position I have, I am currently responsible for liaising with colleagues, consultants and contractors to ensure the delivery of sites from start to finish. I am responsible for commissioning Site Investigations, Flood Risk Assessments, Transport Assessments and Topographical Surveys. I gather all existing utilities and infrastructure details which enables me to then complete the road, drainage and level design using several different kinds of software whilst liaising with Local Authorities such as Councils and Scottish Water. I apply to utility companies such as the SSE and Openreach for site designs. I finally liaise with the site guys whilst on site to eliminate any unpredicted problems before working to hand over sites and receive rebates from the relevant authorities.
What made you decide to pursue a career in Engineering?
I decided to study engineering because I always knew I wanted to study a mathematical based subject, however, I believed studying maths or accountancy may lead to working in a job which is quite dry and does not offer much room to change and grow. I decided engineering was for me due to the technical elements and the fact that each job is individual to the last, there is always some new and different constraint that needs to be dealt with.
What is your experience as a woman in Engineering?
My experience as woman in engineering has been really good so far. Respect varies throughout colleagues, I find older and superior members of staff are very supportive and appreciative of my position. I have worked through to planning stages so far with my sites and I am currently working towards completing Technical Approval Applications for Scottish Water and Road Construction Consent Applications for Moray Council, I have not yet been in charge of a site when it is live, it is an experience I look forward to – my sites should be live by the end of this year. I have gotten valuable experience in working through the planning process in the last few months. I have also gained valuable experience in managing my work load whilst given the opportunity to delegate to other members of staff, we are currently so busy and slightly under staffed that I find myself having to constantly prioritise my workload.
How can we inspire young women to consider Engineering as a career option?
I think there is serious opportunity for woman in engineering, we work different to men and the gap is clear in the industry. There is now less of a stigma surrounding woman in engineering and I truly believe we will see a significant increase in the next generation.
What do you see Engineering looking like for women in the future?
I think woman should be encouraged to take the challenge, step in and do things differently. There is a lot to learn, there is never a dry day and I believe we have a lot to offer. I believe both genders are equal in the work force, and everyone has different attitudes towards work that we can all learn from each other.