To mark International Women in Engineering Day, we spoke to four of the female engineers working in the various divisions of Keller UK to find out about their experiences of working in engineering, what inspired them to join the industry and what advice they'd give to the young engineers of the future.

International Women in Engineering Day logo
Rhian Swan McCay
Rhian Swan-McCay

Phi Group

Name

Rhian Leila Swan-McCay

How long have you been with Phi Group?

Almost five years.

What made you want to become an engineer/work in engineering?

I was always interested in maths and problem solving so it seemed like a good fit. My dad is also an engineer so hearing about his job inspired me.

What does your role involve?

My role involves the full circle of a job – from sending out initial enquiries to reviewing contracts and finally onto site where I oversee the project. It gives me a lot of experience in different areas.

What’s your experience of working in a male-dominated industry?

It can be hard being the only woman around but my colleagues are always very supportive. It’s always really nice seeing other women engineers as it is rare but at the same time I’m used to my environment and it doesn’t bother me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I always like to challenge myself and like that my job does this. Originally I joined as a AutoCAD designer but I wanted to get more involved with projects so my manager made this possible and now I manage my own projects on site.

 What advice would you give to women looking to enter geotechnical engineering?

To be confident in yourself! If it’s something you’re interested in, then go for it. Don’t let stereotypes push you away, otherwise they’ll never change.

Sara Cruz Carlos
Sara Cruz Carlos

Keller Foundations

Name

Sara Cruz Carlos

How long have you been with Keller?

I joined Keller in May 2018, as a trainee engineer as I didn’t have any experience as a designer and now I am a Design Engineer. Keller has always given me opportunities to achieve my aim of becoming a more skilled designer.
I moved to the UK to put into practice everything I learned in Spain because there were no opportunities for me there. My husband was happy to come with our son so I could get work experience. Now we are really happy growing in our jobs and the family is growing here as well. Our daughter was born in August last year. 

What made you want to become an engineer/work in engineering?

When I started my studies in Spain I didn’t really know all the different options I would have or all the different roles I would be able to choose. I have got a MEng Geological/Geotechnical Engineering degree and I would be lying if I said it was easy to get, but if you really want it you can do it. 

What does your role at Keller involve?

As a design engineer, I aim to find the best solution for any project. I have information about soil conditions for the site and what is being built on it. Then I find the best, safest and most economic solution to get the construction done.

What’s your experience of working in a male-dominated industry?

I have never felt uncomfortable working with men. I have always been treated with the same respect as other colleagues. Nowadays there are more women working in my type of roles and in there is no different between us. Being a good worker and a kind person has nothing to do with your gender.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
 

I am always proud of myself when I have completed a job which looked difficult. I always enjoy sharing different opinions with my colleagues and learning from different experiences to make sure I do the best job possible. I enjoy the team work.

What advice would you give to women looking to enter geotechnical engineering?

Do not be worried about being the only woman in your team, it must not stop you realising your ambition. Everyone can become an engineer, they just need to go for it and don’t give up. I have always watched my parents going for what they wanted and I have learned that from them. “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”, as they say.  I believe people who think that women are inferior in the engineering world are becoming a minority. 

Larisa Maries
Larisa Maries

GEO-Instruments

Name

Larisa Maries

How long have you been with GEO-Instruments?

Six months

What made you want to become an engineer/work in engineering?

My mother is a Chartered Surveyor. Growing up I had her as an inspiration. It felt natural for me to pursue a similar career. I found out quite late in my teens that engineering and construction are male-dominated industries.

What does your role involve?

I am a Monitoring Surveyor and Front Line Supervisor. Currently I am working on a major infrastructure project, monitoring all the assets surrounding the construction sites. My role involves field work and data processing. 

What’s your experience of working in a male-dominated industry?

I am working in a wonderful team. I don’t feel like there is any difference between myself and the men in the team. GEO-Instruments is a very open-minded company where I feel safe to work.  There are a few obstacles to being a female working on construction sites. The most common ones are dealing with men who think females are too fragile to work in this environment or men with sexist mentalities.

 What do you enjoy most about your job?

My job allows me to have a very good balance of office and site work. It’s very nice to be able to do both.

What advice would you give to women looking to enter geotechnical engineering?

Always be prepared and open-minded about learning new things. Geotechnical engineering is very complex and if you are open to learning, a lot of opportunities will come your way.

Andreea Lupascu
Andreea Lupascu

Keller Geotechnique

Name 
Andreea Lupascu

How long have you been with Keller?
I started my journey at Keller in April 2021.

What made you want to become an engineer/work in engineering?
I was always attracted by the science side and understand how things are built. 

What does your role at Keller involve?
My role is Senior Contracts Engineer and it involves planning, organising and coordinating site works.

What’s your experience of working in a male-dominated industry?
I have never referred to my work experience being different from others. I always felt I belong here and despite ups and downs, my colleagues have been helpful, regardless of my gender. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
The energy around everything we do daily keeps me motivated and working with people is what I enjoy most. 

What advice would you give to women looking to enter geotechnical engineering?
Believe that there is a place for everyone, everything they can dream of can be achieved and that only by working together we can bring out the best in each other. 

Published on
23 Jul 2021