In order to celebrate International Women In Engineering Day, I reached out to a number of female engineers across the UK & Ireland, asking them to share their stories, and the highly rewarding career path they had chosen.
Hear from Application Design Engineer, Antonia Lamballe, as she discusses her experience of stepping into the world of engineering straight from University.
Siobhan Kelly-Bush: Antonia, please tell us what is it like to work at Schneider Electric?
Antonia Lamballe: Being an applications design engineer for the GenieEvo switchgear range means that I follow each project from tendering stage through to manufacturing. I design and problem solve in order to meet customer specifications. Within this role, daily challenges allow for personal growth and development to make me a more rounded engineer.
SKB: When and why did you decide to become an engineer?
AL: During my GCSE’s and A-Levels, both maths and physics were particular subjects in which I excelled. Teachers within my school encouraged me to look into STEM careers where I then pursued a summer school program at the University of Bristol to aid my decision regarding my chosen discipline.
Electrical and electronics engineering allowed me to combine my favorite subjects whilst keeping a more ‘hands-on’ approach to learning in a fast paced, ever-changing environment.
“… daily challenges allow for personal growth and development to make me a more rounded engineer.”
SKB: So, why Schneider Electric?
AL: Schneider Electric appealed to me as an undergraduate engineer with the vast range of products and services offered which allows for a varied career path in all aspects of the business and around the world.
SKB: How has Schneider Electric supported your career?
AL: Schneider Electric has provided me with the specialist training for switch gear equipment and the softwares required from very basic skills. My manager has also encouraged me to explore other areas of the business which interest me as part of my personal development.
SKB: What has been your career path so far?
AL: My role at Schneider Electric was my first technical job since finishing my degree, I started with the company before my graduation ceremony had taken place.
“Schneider Electric appealed to me as an undergraduate engineer with the vast range of products and services offered which allows for a varied career path in all aspects of the business and around the world.”
SKB: How has the flexibility across Schneider enabled you to explore a range of career choices and opportunities across different areas?
AL: During my induction I was allowed time to be spent in each department to get a full overview of the manufacturing process from start to finish which gave valuable insight into the roles of colleagues.
SKB: What has been your most rewarding experience as an engineer so far?
AL: Personally, I find it rewarding when I can physically see my own improvements. With each project, I am constantly furthering my own knowledge and abilities which can be seen by consistently less project comments or manufacturing issues.
With having limited experience prior to starting with the company, I take more joy in my own progression rather than specific experiences.
SKB: What has been your most challenging experience as an engineer?
AL: Beginning this role, I had very limited experience in Medium Voltage equipment so I had to quickly find my feet alongside learning technical knowledge, software skills and settling into the company.
I found this very challenging at first adapting from University life, however, having a strong and supportive network of colleagues around me helped with my transition and to further myself as an engineer.
SKB: What advice do you have for females interested in becoming an engineer?
AL: Don’t give up, it gets better! I know sometimes, especially during university, it can be so frustrating but it is important to stick with it and surround yourself with a good support system.
SKB: Who has been your greatest support, coach, mentor across Schneider Electric and why?
AL: Chris Hopkinson, a member of my engineering team. Chris has helped me mentally and technically with every aspect of this role, from checking my drawings to listening to my problems and helping me to problem solve them.
He is a valuable member of the engineering team and I would not have progressed at the rate I have done without his help and guidance.
Thank you to Antonia for sharing her insights on what it’s like to be a female in the world of engineering, and in Schneider Electric.