We spoke to Lola Ojewumi, Building Services Design Engineer at Ardmac about her experience in the engineering industry.
How did you become interested in engineering?
During my high school years, in Nigeria, we were assigned to science, accounting and art classes. I’ve always been interested in science but in those days, you had to pass the biology, physics, and the chemistry exams, to be assigned to the science class. However, I didn’t achieve the necessary marks. Instead, I was assigned to the accounting class, I had to work hard on my mathematics, but over time I began to enjoy it.
When we moved from Nigeria to the UK, I was reunited with my uncle, who I had not seen in a long time. He is a civil engineer, and he helped me to discover that I enjoyed solving problems, maths, and the logical aspect of it all.
I decided to try and start a career in engineering. After my GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), I applied to study mechanical engineering. Since then, I have completed an undergraduate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
While the courses were challenging, they were worthwhile and here I am today!
What is your day-to-day role?
My day-to-day role involves solving problems. There is always something that needs to be fixed or information that is required.
For example, if a client needs a building to be designed, it involves looking at areas you want to design and what kind of use it would be. The information is received from the client and then put on paper, and we try to give them the best product and service. You want the area to be able to serve the client well.
Overall, I solve problems and make sure the client’s needs are met. I transcribe their vision into the design and bring it to life.
What is your favourite part of your role?
What I enjoy doing the most is also one of the most stressful parts of my role: being able to learn. Every project comes with its own learning curve. It can be quite challenging because all projects are different. No clients are the same and neither are their ideas. Trying to meet those expectations is what I enjoy the most, but it is also the most challenging aspect of my role and Clients can come back and say they want something else. But throughout the entire experience, I am adapting and learning.
When you face challenges, how do you overcome them?
There are many resources available to me. In Ardmac, there is always someone available to help. I have constant communication with my colleagues, which is very helpful. The people on my team have vast knowledge and experience and it is great to discuss challenges and be supported in finding solutions. It may not always be a straightforward answer, but as you ask the question you are learning and taking in the information you are given. Oftentimes, this information can be applied to more than one project.
How do Ardmac support you in your career?
I have a vast amount of training available to me. For the mechanical engineering group, we have monthly meetings that we use to review ongoing projects or completed projects. We use these meetings to review the learnings from the project. There is a learning curve from every project. We discuss the challenges and what we can do going forward. This pool of knowledge is beneficial for working on future projects.
What is your advice to those considering a career in Engineering?
I think the advice I have applies to all careers; find work that is fulfilling. At the end of the day, work somewhere where you feel like you are making a difference, helping people, and doing something positive. Also, pick something that is of interest to you.
Why are days like International Women in Engineering Day, important?
Days like this are necessary, as we don’t see a lot of women working in engineering. Many women see engineering as a male dominated industry. People don’t realise how many different roles are available to women within the engineering industry, even on site. My first job was on site, it was very hands on, and I really enjoyed it. Everyone I worked with on that job was very encouraging.
It is very important for women to know; engineering is open to everyone.
Click here to meet Monica McCabe: Site Support Trainee