By Chloe Agg
I love my job, I really do. I find it deeply satisfying to use maths and physics to solve real life problems, and then to be able to see the outcome of my work in the world. To be able to walk past a building and say “I helped to design that” is a wonderful feeling. Knowing that my work has such a lasting effect, our designs could potentially be in situ for decades after all, means that I also take a great deal of care and have a lot of professional pride. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a job I love though, especially when I start to look back at how I ended up here.
I chose an engineering degree, I knew that maths, physics and real world scenarios were my thing. I knew for years before I even started my degree that Mechanical Engineering was what I was going to do. Whilst all my friends were worrying that they didn’t know what they were going to do with their lives I was very smugly sure of myself: Engineer. Sorted.
One problem though, a problem that my smug 16 year old self hadn’t got a clue about. Engineer is not a job. It is many, many, many jobs. So many jobs that even now, with a decade of engineering experience under my belt I couldn’t begin to name all the engineering jobs in the world. This is where I start to feel lucky. My first job was also in engineering, but I “fell” into building services and construction when a recruitment consultant suggested it to me when I needed to relocate. I love the variety and pace of construction. I love the real world impact our roles have. So where would I be if the recruitment consultant hadn’t made his suggestion and if I hadn’t listened? And more importantly, how many other people haven’t had that bit of luck and fallen into the wonderful world of construction? I know I’m not the only one to have fallen into this industry, speaking to my colleagues tells me that many of us didn’t initially chose this career, but all of us are very happy to be here.
It seems unfair that we should be so lucky and that others might miss out, especially given how hard it can be to recruit into engineering and construction roles. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops, so I joined STEMNET and gave talks at schools, wrote blogs and mentored students, but it didn’t seem to be having much of an impact except on a few individuals. What I needed was to find a higher roof, and a bigger voice. Then I met Sarah Davis and Caroline Robinson. Now the three of us are writing a book, a lovely exciting pop-up book for 4-7 year olds… get them interested while they’re young! Our intention, through doing this in our spare time, getting sponsorship from big companies, and crowd funding the project, is to freely distribute the book to primary schools all over the UK so every child can learn about our industry. I want to open up construction careers to a new generation of inspired kids, and when our kickstarter campaign launches; I hope you’ll help.
For more information about Chloe’s book go to http://skills4stem.co.uk/media/1607/Green-Duck-Publishing-Media_Pack_17th-June-2014.pdf or follow @greenduckbook on Twitter.