Today marks the start of Tomorrow Engineer’s Week 2016. It’s a week that shines the spotlight on the rewarding career opportunities that exist within engineering.

In order to mark the occasion, STEM Sussex has spoken to Francesca Loader. A recent graduate and now working as a civil engineer.

What was it like studying Engineering at university?

Throughout University I was sponsored by Costain, during which time I completed 3 placements including an industrial placement year.

francesca-loader1Undertaking these placements gave me a hands-on, unique insight into the practicalities of working on site in a way that University never could. Not only did it provide me with good practical experience but also confidence through the support of my colleagues – many of whom I still keep in contact with now.

What careers advice would you give other young people?

Getting first hand experiences in the workplace have played a massive part in getting me to where I am today. Beginning with my placement with Costain, I went on to work experience with Mott Macdonald at the age of 15, then paid work experience with a solar consultancy company at the age of 16, from site visits to volunteering events with STEM Sussex, Crossrail Young Engineers, University events and society committee roles.

francesca-loader3I think doing these extra-curricular activities certainly makes you more employable but also helps tremendously in establishing people skills – a crucial skill when you interact with 30+ construction people on a daily basis.

I feel fortunate that I have chosen a career path that I find both challenging and rewarding, which also presents the opportunity to work abroad. This drives me towards encouraging other young people towards a career in Civil Engineering.

Parental and educational support is crucial for success. Inevitably, I think only you can determine your own destiny.

If you need any advice about building a career in engineering, or in fact any STEM subject, contact STEM Sussex.