To mark International Women in Engineering Day, our women engineers are providing us with a unique insight into their role within Keystone Lintels and exploring what a typical day is like for an engineer. International Women in Engineering Day celebrates the important role women play in this traditionally male dominated industry and encourages young women to consider a rewarding career in an innovative industry. Rebecca Mackle, Technical Engineer Placement Student shares how her dad’s passion for construction inspired her to pursue a career in engineering and encourages young women considering a career in engineering to keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
What made you want to develop a career in engineering?
As a child I was very much influenced by my dad and his love for machinery and construction. I never missed the chance to go for days away on the lorry, helping out on the farm and fixing up old cars. In school I loved the problem solving and analytical aspects of maths and physics which is when my teacher suggested a career in engineering. He then helped me gain some work experience with companies such as MCD and Belfast City Council where I was involved in the production of CAD drawings and the restoration of infrastructures around Belfast.
I am now currently in the third year of my Mechanical Engineering degree, which is a placement year. This is how I got involved with the Keystone Group as I applied for the chance to work as a Placement Technical Engineer in Keystone Lintels for a year. I had heard a lot about the company’s success and felt it was a great opportunity to increase my construction and technical knowledge as well as commercial awareness.
Describe your normal working day?
A normal working day for me includes assessing loads from architectural and engineers plans and deciding on a suitable lintel in relation to the loads calculated, opening size and wall construction. A competitive schedule is then created and sent to the customer. I also work with architects, builders and engineers designing special bespoke lintels, these special lintels such as large arches and corners can be designed using steel beams arranged in the most efficient and cost effective way.
Hopefully the customer will be looking to order the lintels quoted to them, so engineers have to ensure all details are correct before ordering. Accurate confirmation and production drawings then have to be designed for special lintels using AutoCAD to ensure the customer is happy with the design and it can then be fabricated correctly. I am also trained in NAV and Filemaker so I am able to enter schedules and orders onto these systems if needed and can deal with customer enquiries over the phone.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I enjoy the fact that even though I have been working here for a year, I am still always learning new things as I’m faced with different tasks every day. I’ve had the chance to be part of every step throughout the process, from receiving an enquiry to the lintels being delivered on site which has given me a better understanding of the teamwork needed within the company.
What advice would you give to women considering a career in engineering?
I would definitely advise getting some work experience within different fields of engineering and finding out what type of engineering you are best suited to and enjoy the most. Ask as many questions as you can and you’ll find you are constantly learning and developing your knowledge. Always keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.