Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day with CambridgeHOK’s Megan Hinch

23rd Jun

This year on June 23, people are being asked to celebrate the contribution that women engineers make and share those achievements nationally and internationally, using #ShapeTheWorld on social media.
Here, Megan Hinch, 27, a junior electrical engineer at CambridgeHOK in East Yorkshire, answers questions on how she got into the job, and why she would encourage others to follow a similar route.
Tell us about your education:
Initially I studied for three years in childcare and education, going on to work in childcare for four years after qualifying. However, I felt that the job wasn’t right for me and in May 2015, when I was 22, I was offered an admin role within CambridgeHOK’s M&E office, where I spent a lot of time listening to how the department works and what goes into a project.
I got more and more involved in helping wherever I could and eventually my line manager offered me the chance to complete a Level 3 in general engineering while working. I studied this at Hull College for two years, securing an overall grade of distinction. This gave me the option to enhance my learning further by completing a HNC in electrical engineering, which I am due to complete in the next few weeks.
Did you always know what job you wanted to do?
On accepting the admin role I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise. I was hoping to carry on working until I found something that interested me. I quickly came to realise, however, that a career in engineering would suit me perfectly.
What made you want to get in to engineering?
The variety of job prospects for the engineering sector are so large so I thought it would offer lots of options. I also thought it would be an interesting career with many different avenues to explore. I wanted a job that would keep me interested and give me something that would continuously teach me new things.
What is a normal day for you at work?
My days are really varied depending on what projects we are working on. A large portion of my time is spent detailing electrical plan drawings for both tender and installation, including building a materials list for the full electrical install, and ensuring we get the best cost for the project to benefit both client and the company.
I also put together tender packages for electrical subcontractors to ensure quality labour and pricing. I then go on to manage these subcontracted packages on site to ensure everything is running as planned.
What are your favourite types of projects to do?
Projects I can get involved with from start to finish. That way I know how the project should run and I get a sense of achievement when the job runs to the design.
Why do you think companies struggle to recruit women in to engineering?
I believe there is still a big stigma attached to engineering that it is a “man’s job”. My colleagues and peers, however, have been nothing but helpful in pushing me towards where I want to be in the industry, just as they would be with anyone else.
I also feel that there isn’t enough push in schools to show students what is available out there for women. Opportunities within engineering are really fulfilling and exciting, and don’t just have to be a hands-on job in the field.  
What is your favourite thing about your job?
It’s hard to pick one element as there are several. One of which would be the variety, no day is the same, and no project is the same, making each day different and interesting. Another part would have to be my colleagues and the company, who are always there to help and teach me, not to mention they make it a fun place to work.  
What would you say to anyone looking to get into engineering?
Do it! You won’t regret it.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I would like to be a qualified electrical engineer who is able to work more independently, and with more responsibility. I would like to be able to teach a young striving engineer in the same position as me to become a good electrical engineer.
When are your hobbies away from work?
A lot of my time is spent with friends and family, eating, drinking, and shopping! I also enjoy exercising, and like to get out running or on my road bike whenever I can.
Favourite quote?
“Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she’ll conquer the world” – Marilyn Monroe

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