Engineering
students at the Future female engineers networking event at Atkins' HQ

Female engineers find the way to career success from 'inspiring' event

Student Jemma Hart found the inspiration she needed to land a graduate job at the Future female engineers networking day – here’s why you should do the same.
I was lost on what job I really wanted but I found this event gave me the fire I needed. – Jemma Hart

TARGETjobs Events’ Future female engineers gives female STEM students the chance to meet lots of graduate recruiters, senior engineers and recent graduates from top engineering companies – as well as like-minded students – all under one roof. The day-long networking event also includes activities and opportunities designed to help you launch your engineering career.

Jemma Hart, a civil engineering student from Heriot-Watt University, who attended the 2016 event, found it gave her the boost she needed to apply for graduate jobs. She says, ‘I initially applied for the event as I knew it would be an effective networking opportunity. However, I was blown away by how inspired I was by the event. I gained a rare opportunity to propel my career forward and gain valuable knowledge from inspirational people.'

From networking to a graduate job

Since attending Future female engineers, Jemma has gone on to secure a graduate job with Arup, one of the employers involved. ‘Before the event, I had started applying for graduate jobs, which is a lengthy process,’ she says. ‘I was lost on what job I really wanted and after some time it’s easy to lose momentum, but I found this event gave me the fire I needed. It helped give me the confidence to apply to roles and helped me stand out from the crowd.’

Jemma also found the event helped her improve her CV: ‘The opportunity to chat to recruiters about the application process really opened my eyes to exactly what employers look for in a CV. I definitely saw an improvement in my own CV after applying their advice.’

If attending the next Future female engineers event already sounds like a no-brainer to you, visit the Future female engineers website, where you can find out more and register for the next event. Or, if you need some more convincing, here are the five reasons why we think you won’t regret applying.

Future female engineers can help you:

1. Meet employers and network

Lots of people will tell you how important it is to get out there and start building a professional network. But how on earth do you meet these people? And what should you say when you meet them? Well, Future female engineers will help you a) practise speaking to people in a professional setting to build your confidence and b) meet lots of people in the engineering industry. At the 2016 event at Atkins’ HQ in Bristol, students could speak to representatives from 11 employers: AECOM, Arup, Atkins, BAE Systems, Balfour Beatty, Bechtel, Laing O’Rourke, Mott MacDonald, Network Rail, NPS Group and Siemens.

The day included a networking lunch, where students could pick the brains of graduate recruiters, as well as an insider insights session with recent graduates rather than recruiters. Students had the chance to ask the graduates more informal questions, find out what it’s really like to work for different companies and get the lowdown on the recruitment process from the people who’ve been there, done that and got the job offer. If you know which employers you want to apply to, this is your chance to make a beeline for the graduates at these companies and come away with some insider tips.

The day’s not just about meeting company representatives though; you’ll also get to connect with plenty of like-minded students in the same boat as you.

2. Practise for engineering assessment centres

Part of the recruitment process for most engineering graduate schemes is an assessment centre – and it’s common for you to be asked to complete a group exercise. Attending Future female engineers will give you the chance to take part in a team challenge designed to imitate a typical group exercise. What better way to prepare for the real thing than gain some valuable practice in a fun, low-pressure environment?

At the 2016 event, groups of students, supervised by a recruiter, were given a brief and worked together to design and make a solution, before presenting their idea to the rest of the room. It was an ideal opportunity to get better at teamwork, problem solving, communicating and presenting – exactly the sorts of soft skills that will help you stand out when it comes to an engineering assessment centre.

3. Increase your employability…and maybe even get a job

By attending Future female engineers students have the chance to boost their employability (make sure you mention the event on your CV) and show off their potential to the recruiters in the room. It’s common for students to end up getting an internship or graduate job with the employers they meet at these events. If you impress a recruiter at any point during the day they are likely to make a note of your name. Or, if you decide to apply to an employer who attended the event, you can highlight the event in your application. It shows that you’ve researched and engaged with the profession – and they may well remember you!

The event will also give you direct access to the recruiters whose desks your applications might well land on in the future. The two 30-minute ‘how to get hired’ skills sessions, each run by a different recruiter, give you the chance to hear first-hand from them about what makes a successful applicant and get the sort of information you won’t just find online. In the session we sat in on, the recruiter gave the students handy tips for each stage of the application process and revealed what skills they should work on while at university to become an ideal candidate.

4. Be inspired by, and get advice from, senior female engineers

You’ll have access to the minds of inspiring women who have years of engineering experience and are full of wise tips to help you follow in their footsteps. Through a panel discussion made up of senior female engineers from various companies, you’ll be able to hear about their career paths and ask them questions about the industry. You’ll also hear from some guest speakers on their careers so far and their advice for you. At the event in Bristol, the guest speakers were Caroline Norris, a senior engineer at Atkins, and Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer at AECOM.

Jemma Hart found that listening to the speakers discussing their careers and achievements helped her to feel confident about her career prospects as a woman working in a predominantly male industry. She says, ‘As a woman just starting my career in engineering, the day removed any concerns I had about being in the minority by introducing me to strong female role models who are established in the engineering field.’

Head to our article, Senior female engineers give students their tips for career success, where we reveal some of the advice that was offered at the 2016 event.

5. Have a free day out at a cool venue

The event is hosted by an engineering employer so you’ll have the chance to visit their offices and get a glimpse of what it would be like to work there. The location is different for each event.

You’ll need to apply online and go through a short phone interview process in order to go along but, for those who are selected to attend, there is no cost attached. Lunch and refreshments are provided and the TARGETjobs Events team will pay up to £50 for your travel expenses. At the event in Bristol, there was even a bus to pick up all of the students from the train station and deliver them to and from Atkins’ doorstep.

Top