by Rachel Hayden, STEM Ambassador
My name is Rachel Hayden and I have just graduated with a MEng Civil Engineering degree from the University of Bath. I didn’t actually know what engineering was until I was 16 when my physics teacher at the time encouraged me to enter a competition to build a bridge out of pasta! By gaining more of an insight into the world of engineering through the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, I realised the shortage of women in the industry. As a result of this observation, during my last two years of secondary school I went onto run a global female engineering competition, “Building the Future, Shaping our World” to encourage more young girls to consider a career in the industry.
An ICE QUEST Scholarship with Laing O’Rourke enabled me to receive financial support as well as placements throughout my degree, which developed both my technical knowledge and personal qualities. I was able to be part of teams building the Hinkley Worker’s Campus in Bridgwater for three months and the £350 million Grange University Hospital for my year in industry as part of my degree.
Other opportunities that have helped me develop throughout my time at university are the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders Scholarship, the Ford Women in STEM Competition and the Telegraph STEM Awards. I also went on to receive the UK Construction and Engineering Undergraduate of the Year in 2018, which allowed me to receive an all-expenses paid work experience across Australia that summer.
It was a fantastic experience, where I got to meet amazing people and work on incredible projects such as Sydney Metro, 100 Mount Street (tallest building in North Sydney), ACT Law Courts in Canberra, the 155km Pacific Highway upgrade as well as the refurbishment of the Sydney Opera House.
I am now looking forward to joining the Laing O’Rourke graduate programme in September, building the nuclear power station Hinkley Point C. I definitely wouldn’t be the civil engineer I am today if it wasn’t for the experiences and opportunities I have taken so far. Therefore, I would encourage others wanting to pursue a career in the industry to apply for similar opportunities, as you never know where they might lead and where you might end up.