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Future Female Engineers

Ellis Chappell - Loughborough University

On 5 November 2018, I attended the Future Female Engineers event held at Arup’s headquarters. This being the second year I attended, I felt confident knowing what I was walking into. The day is split into different sections: a motivational talk – learning how to build your brand; a mock assessment centre activity – focusing on your teamwork and communication skills; networking time – talking to recent graduates on schemes with the companies present as well as with the recruitment team members; a panel talk – featuring fantastic women from all engineering backgrounds to ask what it’s truly like; and how to get hired sessions.

I am a second-year electronic and electrical engineering student at Loughborough University and I went to the event hoping to acquire a year in industry with one of the companies present. My advice to anyone attending is to really do your research beforehand on the different companies. Which ones align with your values? Which ones have sectors/projects that interest you? What can you find out beforehand so you can get questions together? As much as you are there to impress the companies, they are there to sell their placement/graduate schemes to you. With the graduates, do not be scared to talk to them and ask them about their experiences. What do they like about working there? What is the work/life balance like?

My first time attending the event, I do not believe I truly made the most of the connections I made. The second time I came with a newly made LinkedIn account so I could connect with the recruiters, message them afterwards to ensure they remembered my name and follow up on CV checks before submitting officially.

I managed to get a placement year with Siemens. They ask you to send your CV to them and will give you a psychometric test/game. This is nothing to panic about as they will give you a mock app first to help you practise. Once my results were submitted they invited me to an assessment centre in York. Everybody there was so kind and friendly. They gave us a task based on a recent project of theirs, so again try and do your research beforehand as I feel like it gave me an advantage as it was not my first time seeing this concept. The interview was very me-based. By this I mean it was less focused on what is taught in my lectures but: how I work in a group? Do I have examples of leadership? What do I do when faced with a challenge? Of course, there was a question related to the rail sector and my course but they know they can and will teach you the technical side so they want to see you have formed solid soft skills as well.

Finally, I would just like to say do not underestimate networking with other students. Learn how they cope with the workload and what their has experience been in applying to placements. You never know – the girl you sit next to could be a future colleague.