Unlock the art of the impossible
We caught up with Amina, Katherine, Helen, Yolanda and Georgia from Rolls-Royce to find out what it’s really like working in STEM.
Girlguiding encourage girls and young women to unlock their creative side with ideas, experiments and problem solving.
The Innovate skills builder, co-sponsored by Rolls-Royce, shows that STEM - Science, technology, engineering and maths - is a really fun thing to do.
We talked with Amina, Katherine, Helen, Yolanda and Georgia, who all work in STEM roles at Rolls-Royce, to find out more about what they do.
What do you do at Rolls-Royce?
Amina: I’m an engineering degree apprentice so I’m moving around the company to experience the different areas of work at Rolls-Royce. All the experience is helping me with my degree and I’ll be in a good position to make a decision about the department I’d like to work in.
Helen: I’m a materials engineer, so I make sure that we choose the right materials so that our products will last for a long time in their operating environment – like submarines needing to work perfectly under the sea.
Why did you decide to go into a STEM career?
Yolanda: I’ve always loved problem solving and talking to people and being a service engineer allows me to do both. Time flies when I do my job because I am doing things that I really like!
Georgia: I didn’t really choose my field, more ended up here by chance, but I love it! I’m a production leader in one of our factories and there’s loads of variety in what I do, lots of opportunities and it is always fast paced.
Amina: I was always interested in how things worked. I wanted to be a midwife or a nurse until the end of Year 11 where I decided to carry on with the subjects I enjoyed most at A-level; physics, chemistry and maths, which led me into a career in engineering.
How does what you do make a difference?
Katherine: As a manufacturing engineer, I take new ideas for how to make things and bring them to life in our factories. Our current project is developing 3D printing in metal so we can make innovative and complex designs quickly and more easily.
Georgia: I make sure my team have all the information and resources to make some of the most technical components of a turbine engine.
Is there anything that surprised you when you started at Rolls-Royce?
Katherine: I was surprised the first time I saw the chemical section of the factory that uses all the chemistry experiments we did at school. I thought these were fun at school, but mostly useless, but I was wrong and we use them to clean, paint, smooth and join parts together.
Yolanda: I think service engineering is a relatively unknown area which is often associated with men and that is not true! There are seven engineers in my team and four are women. People can also have non-engineering careers in a STEM company - like purchasing, finance or people services.
Georgia: Whenever people come to visit our factory, they’re always impressed by just how accurately we measure things. We’re measuring two microns (less than the width of a hair) using all those bits of maths you never think you’ll need outside of school.
What advice would you give girls and young women to inspire them to pursue a career in STEM?
Katherine: If you enjoy problem solving, like a challenge and want to be involved in making or developing something, STEM is a great career. The skills you learn can be used anywhere, can help many people and make a difference, and you don’t have to get dirty or be hands-on (although you can if you want to be).
Helen: You can do anything that you want to do, so don’t be put off by any perceptions about who you are. You can make a real difference with a career in STEM and it’s very rewarding.
Yolanda – Believe that your dreams can come true! I made it happen with loads of hard work and a relentless “can do” attitude - there is no such a thing as “impossible”!
Georgia: There are so many roles out there beyond what we think of as STEM – jobs that you never knew existed! Roles in STEM can be so much more than engineers and scientists - I work in manufacturing and use my STEM skills all the time.
Amina: Most young women are afraid to pursue a career in STEM as it’s portrayed as heavy practical work in an all-male environment. This isn’t the case! There’s lots of different careers in STEM, from design, which can be more art based, to creating software on a computer. If you enjoy it, go for it!
Did guiding impact on what you wanted to do in future?
Helen: It gave me the confidence to go into STEM without worrying about not being a boy. My guiding family were very supportive and encouraged me to be an engineer.
Georgia: Being a Brownie always involved team games and activities. No matter what career you take, working with others and having fun doing it will always be important!