We're celebrating International Women in Engineering Day! - 23/06/2017

Sutton and East Surrey Water -

It’s International Women in Engineering Day and Civil Engineer, Fiona Smithee tells us about what drew her into engineering and how she finds it in the water industry. #INWED

Said Fiona: “I kind of fell into engineering. I was doing my A Levels in maths, physics and geography but had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. Funnily enough, my sister is a mechanical engineer and it was just by chance I was looking through some of her career brochures and came across civil engineering. I think the reason I was most drawn to this type of engineering is because, not only did it relate to my A levels with geography and maths, I was interested in problem solving and learning about how engineering interacts with the land and environment. So, I studied civil engineering at the University of Greenwich and landed my first job at an Engineering Consultancy as a graduate. I never really faced any negativity as a woman in engineering – even though it’s still really male dominated  – if anything the guys I’ve come across have been really polite.   

After five years I left my first job and started my career in the water industry at a different water company and was then offered a role as a Civil Engineer at SES Water. I was thrown in at the deep end when I first started at the Company as I had to manage the diversion of two water mains that had twice caused major flooding the year before but that didn’t put me off as eight years later, I’m still here! My role covers four main areas including repair and maintenance – where we fix leaks and broken valves, metering installation, working with building sites and resurfacing jobs where we’ve dug up the road.

Engineering is the foundation of everything we do in the world, from designing to building – it’s so important! That’s why SES Water is involved with a local school where we talk about careers in engineering and encourage young people to not only understand what it is, but that girls do it too!

One thing I would say to anyone who’s thinking about becoming an engineer (or didn’t know what to do like I did) is to look at all of the different opportunities in engineering that are out there. There are so many different type of engineers, you could get into construction, design – there’s just so much you could do and you’ll get a broader idea of what’s right for you.”

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