Earlier this year, 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 the thoughts of Sarah Bedwell, Project Manager at Schneider Electric, about what it’s like to be a female in the world of engineering, what it’s like to work at Schneider Electric and how Schneider has contributed to her journey.
Siobhan Kelly-Bush: Sarah, please tell us what is it like to work at Schneider Electric?
Sarah Bedwell: Working as a Project Manager in Field Services is extremely rewarding as you are embedded in the full life cycle of a project. Day to day it’s often fast paced and high pressure but the payoff is building relationships with our customers whilst delivering profitable projects. I run a variety of projects from LV upgrades, to Medium Voltage & Low Voltage on site repairs and breakdowns. I will be the main point of contact for our customers from order acceptance to order delivery.
When and why did you decide to become an engineer?
SB: I joined Schneider nearly four years ago after completing a Business Degree in Manchester, I started as a field service coordinator but was attracted to the fast-paced role of a project manager and the ability to really connect with our customers and engineers. After the first year at Schneider, I started a Btec in electrical and electronic engineering to develop my technical skills in order to be in a better position to progress in a project management role in the future. I had already obtained project management skills at university, but my technical knowledge was lacking, and Schneider helped me bridge this gap.
“After the first year at Schneider, I started a Btec in electrical and electronic engineering to develop my technical skills in order to be in a better position to progress in a project management role in the future.”
How has Schneider Electric supported your career?
SB: Schneider have given me the opportunity to undertake a technical qualification, which is something I had never considered after undertaking a degree within Business Management.
What has been your career path up to today?
SB: I worked in Sales & Marketing for IT Company in London, before taking on a Coordination Role in Schneider, and then becoming a Project Manager in Schneider.
What has been your most rewarding experience as an engineer?
SB: Over the past 6 months I’ve been managing a LV upgrade for a Bank in Halifax. In March this project was successfully completed during two weekends on site with myself and group of high skilled LV engineers. The customer feedback was fantastic for everyone involved. This was extremely rewarding and my biggest project to date.
What has been your most challenging experience as an engineer?
SB: Initially it was overwhelming moving into a role where there are so many technically experienced people around, when I was not technical or from a technical background. I learnt quickly that our engineers are highly experienced, and their advice is invaluable. Combining this with my own experience was hard at the beginning, but finding the right balance of both was, and is, key to running successful projects.
What advice do you have for females interested in becoming an engineer?
SB: Don’t be afraid to go for what you want. It is easy to allow insecurities about gender/age/experience level to prevent you from following your passion. It’s about believing in your goals and what you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at the risk of looking silly and always listen to the advice of those around you.
Don’t be afraid to go for what you want.
This blog post is part of a series. I invite you to read the other interviews below:
- International Women in Engineering Day: an Interview with Yasemin Borg
- International Women in Engineering Day: an Interview with Antonia Lamballe
- An interview with Eszter Kortvelyesi, Customer Project Engineer at Schneider Electric
- An interview with Mireia Miralles, Graduate Engineer at Schneider Electric
- An interview with Catherine Anderton, Project Manager at Schneider Electric
- An interview with Helen Arch, Field Services Engineer at Schneider Electric
- An interview with Palak Lad, Systems Engineer at Schneider Electric