Maria has worked in Mechanical Design, specialising in marine and submarine design for over 11 years.

Hi Maria, tell us a little bit about your role…

A lot of what I do is very confidential, but what I can tell you is that my role requires me to think about every aspect of my team’s work, from the processes they follow to the problems they face.

My team is built up of highly skilled designers, but the processes that require following are so complex that it is my job to guide the designers down the right path. With a wide range of stakeholders and the complexity of these routed systems, the design work often encounters a lot of changes even after it has been signed off. My team manage the design stage from initial concept through to release.

Why did you choose an engineering career path?

Engineering has always been interesting to me, but I don’t believe enough information was available for me in school to guide me down this path straight from secondary education.

I took Design & Technology as a GCSE, and it was difficult being 1 of 2 girls in the year taking that subject further, I would say it actually set me back quite a bit, and it wasn’t until 2 years after leaving school that I decided to get back into Engineering and take on an apprenticeship. This was much more inclusive, and I was made to feel supported.

The qualifications I’ve gained along the way cover Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Familiarisation, and Leadership & Management training.

I do, however believe that now, 11 years after I started my apprenticeship, the industry welcomes women in a much larger capacity.

What are your career highlights so far?

I’d say the highlight of my career was being re-located 2 years ago, I moved to Morson Project’s Manchester office to set up a new team, which involved taking on half of an existing team and expanding it.

This was a great challenge for me professionally and was the first time I’d moved teams without knowing any of my immediate colleagues.

What’s next for you and your team?

My team are currently expanding again, we are in the midst of setting up 2 more teams, which will allow us to bring more people on board and share the knowledge, so it’s definitely an exciting time to be a part of this Morson Projects team.

How do you think we, as an industry can work to inspire the next generation of women leaders in engineering?

I believe that the inclusion for women into Engineering should start from a young age. If I had a better experience at school with this path, then I definitely believe I would of embraced it a lot earlier.

I believe the UK’s STEM programme does a great deal for students of all backgrounds, but schools and parents do need to be actively encouraging young women to choose engineering roles if they show an interest.

What advice can you offer to women who would like to pursue a career in engineering?

Women that have an interest in engineering should climb over all the obstacles to stay on that path. I promise it’s worth it!

There are ways in which women and men work and analyse situations differently and the Engineering industry can certainly benefit from the value that a mix of male and female colleagues can contribute to this.

The women I meet in this industry, like myself, have had to overcome certain obstacles to get where they are, and as a result, have grown into strong, successful people.