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Pam Dickinson | Woman Engineer of the Day
Pam is a Supportability Engineer for Pintle Ltd. She has a wealth of industry experience following a successful career in Maritime Engineering. Pam is now an independent contractor and enjoys the freedom and range of different projects that this provides her. Here Pam shares what attracted her to a career in engineering and her thoughts on how to encourage more women to follow in her footsteps….
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
I have always been fascinated with how things work. At school, I was mostly interested in Maths and Sciences, so I was naturally drawn towards a career in engineering. I think I must have inherited an engineering gene too. My Dad is an engineer and my Mum can fix anything with a kitchen knife.
What are your future career aspirations?
In 2012 I decided to take the leap from full time employment into the world of independent contracting. I would like to continue with this as I love the extra freedom and the variety of projects available.
What has been a key achievement of your career to date?
The moment I decided to trust in myself and become a contractor.
Have you faced any challenges in your career or studies so far?
I still see my biggest career challenge as the 8 years that I served as a Marine Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a challenge and doesn’t want to spend their life in an office staring at a screen. The training was excellent; I’ve seen and done some amazing things. I still bore family and friends with stories of my adventures and mishaps on the high seas.
How do you think we can inspire young women to pursue a career in engineering?
I’m not really sure what’s stopping women from getting into engineering, I’m extremely fortunate to have had great support throughout my education and career and have never really encountered any barriers.
If you want to be an engineer just get on and do it. If particular aspects are putting you off then try to talk to someone within the industry to see if they can allay your fears. Engineering covers such a vast array of disciplines and industries that there is bound to be a specialisation that will suit you.
Who inspires you?
A lot of people have inspired me throughout my career; family, friends and people I’ve worked with.
I’m currently hugely inspired by Team SCA, 15 women racing around the world against all male crews on a 70 foot Volvo Ocean yacht. These boats are extremely technical and physically demanding to sail; not to mention adding sleep deprivation and mental stress into the mix. This is a great example of engineering design and manufacturing at the forefront of technology: hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, FEA, materials, electronics, communications etc.
Do you have any advice for girls and women?
Don’t let lack of self-confidence hold you back. Every time I start a new job I worry that there’s so much I don’t know about a project, but it never takes long to realise that most people I’m working with are in the same boat. Ask questions, people want to help and you’ll probably find that they also have a lot of questions too.
Finally, if you are really not enjoying your job then move on to something else. Life is not a dress rehearsal, “You can get more money but you can’t get more time.” Jim Rohn
How did you hear about MatchTech?
A friend recommended MatchTech to me, she is also an engineer.