A coffee with… Wendy Thomson on International Women in Engineering Day
Article posted on: 23rd June 2021
Happy International Women in Engineering Day!
We’re taking part in the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) campaign again this year. Close to our hearts, the annual event is vital in raising the profile of women in engineering and focusing the attention on the amazing career opportunities available to women and girls in this exciting industry.
With female engineers still only comprising 12% of the UK engineering workforce, this year’s INWED theme is Engineering Heroes, to celebrate the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing. We’re profiling our inspirational women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution and hope to encourage more women and girls to consider a career in engineering.
First off, let’s hear from Wendy Thomson who joined the Clancy team earlier this year as an Associate Structural Engineer, following the acquisition of Scottish based DBM Consultants. We chatted to Wendy who revealed who her engineering heroes are and why their achievements inspired her, including one inspirational women’s success in 1926.
Take it away Wendy >>
Who has been your engineering hero and why?
My engineering spark was ignited in High school by my female Technological Studies teacher, Ms Prete. I was the only girl in the class and having a female teacher in what was seen as a ‘boys subject’ really inspired me. Since becoming a Chartered Engineer, I have attended many presentations regarding Women in Engineering. This has led me to my own research into female Engineers making their way in the industry. There are so many inspirational women such as Florence Mary Taylor who became the first female member in the UK’s Institute of Structural Engineers in 1926.
What’s the most helpful advice you have been given (in life or career)?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also don’t be afraid to make yourself heard – that’s more something I’d advise – the construction industry can be an intimidating place when you first start out.
What led you to choosing a career in engineering?
In High School I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do; I was studying a broad range of subjects from Music to Science. It wasn’t until I was in my final year at school that I made the decision to study engineering at university. I was studying Technological Studies and we were working on node analysis and I really enjoyed it. From there I was able to pinpoint what I could do along those lines and the idea to study Structural Engineering was born. After high school I went on to study Structural Engineering with Architectural Design at university. I followed this up with my Masters in Timber Engineering – which is what I now specialise in.
Favourite project you’ve worked on, and why?
One of my favourite projects is a single storey Primary School I engineered, located just outside Edinburgh. It had a little bit of everything design wise, timber kit, glulam roof beams and wind posts and steel beams. I used this project as part of my case study for my Chartership interview as it gave me plenty of experience in different areas of design. I was also able to attend several design team meetings and have regular site visits to review the progress. I was responsible for the coordination of the timber kit detailing to ensure my design was reflected correctly. My experience on this project allowed me to then assist clients on future similar projects when they were bidding for the jobs.