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Engineer Aima aims to challenge perceptions of what it means to be an engineer

02 Apr 2017
Aima challenging perceptions

"When I was at school, I wanted to be a doctor but I never enjoyed sitting still and preferred getting stuck into practical work. I had an interest in the growing telecommunications industry, so I studied for an Electronics and Communication Engineering degree, and graduated in 2008. Jobs were in short supply, so I joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Corps as a vehicle mechanic engineer.

"I developed many skills during my five years in the army, and after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, I felt it was time for the next challenge.

"I enrolled on a communications course and met some lecturers who had worked for Openreach, which inspired me to apply for their apprenticeship scheme. As soon as I started, I was on the road with my own van, meeting engineers and learning the ropes "on the job”. That was combined with classroom-based courses and NVQ days, so I now have an NVQ and BTEC Level 3 in ICT and telecommunications, and I’m a fully qualified network engineer.

"The days are really varied – anything from climbing telephone poles to installing new cables and making sure everything runs smoothly. I want to challenge the misconceptions of what it means to be an engineer: it doesn’t necessarily mean getting your hands dirty all the time. You’re challenged to think outside the box and develop great problem-solving skills. I haven’t come across many female engineers, but I’d love to encourage more women to follow this path.

"The opportunities are there – for example, I was delighted to be accepted on to a Future Leaders Programme recently and have a senior executive mentor me. I have a ten-week-old daughter, Eden, and I want to show her what women can achieve. I hope one day I can be the one mentoring others to help them fulfil their potential.”

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