"EVERYONE I'VE SPOKEN TO HAS BEEN SO ENCOURAGING"
Lucy Gould, 17, (right) is studying to become a design engineer. She tells plotr about her work experience at Formula One car manufacturer Williams, emailing her idols - and why she couldn't care less what her classmates think…
(Tip: You can find more about the Williams taster week work experience programme - at their engineering plant in Oxfordshire - here)
Why did you want to do the taster week of work experience at Williams?
“I’m really interested in mechanical engineering and thought it would be a good chance to see how a company like Williams works – how engineering is involved in what they do on a day-to-day basis. Also, engineering is a big field, and I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in! This was a great chance to find out more, so I can make decisions about exactly what it is I’m most interested in.”
Are there many female engineers in Formula One?
“Not many, but that is changing. When I started researching Formula One, I thought it would be good to speak to some women working in the industry. So I Googled “female design engineers” and found Kristy Allan, who works at Williams. I asked for some tips on what was the best route in and I found out more about how she got to where she is. She was fantastic – really encouraging and supportive. I’ve been in touch with a couple of other female engineers as well, to get their views – and they’ve all been really, really helpful.”
What do your friends think about you becoming an engineer?
“It’s so funny – some can’t get their heads around it at all! They say ‘Why on earth do you want to do that?’ They think it’s a really odd thing for me to be doing. But I don't mind because it's what I’m interested in and it’s what I’m most passionate about. I’d never change my ideas because of what they think. It’s my choice – and that’s what I’ve decided to do!”
Have you always been interested in subjects like science, technology, engineering and maths?
“I’ve always been interested in science – but I used to think I wasn’t good at maths though, and I never would have expected to be doing it for A-level! But after my GCSEs I got really passionate about it and I’ve really enjoyed doing it at AS-level. I’m studying physics, politics, maths and art.”
What did you enjoy the most about the Williams taster week?
“It's all been amazing but I particularly loved meeting Kirsty Allan, who came to talk to us about her job at Williams. As I’m really interested in the design aspects of engineering and aerodynamics that’s what interested me the most. It was really inspiring to hear her talk.
“The taster week is a great opportunity to see and learn more about what engineering actually is. I come from an all-girls school and they don't really promote engineering much. I think the Williams Taster Week has really opened my eyes to all the opportunities there are –how it’s not a limited field at all and how the technology is always evolving.”