Author: Sarah Shields, Mechanical Project Engineer at Cutitronics
Like a lot of young people, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was fascinated by discovering how things worked, but unsure how to develop this interest into a career.
I didn’t really know about engineering when I was at school. It was later, when considering university courses that it clicked into place. I chose to study Product Design Engineering, which offered a good mix of conceptual design, practical skills, and engineering theory. Through this, I learned what was involved in bringing a product to life, and what career opportunities are available.
I have been quite lucky in my career to work with employers that are supportive of my involvement with STEM activities, and have encouraged others to learn about the subjects. I cherish this now as I recognise the importance of educating people on the prospects of the field.
After graduating, my first job was as a product development engineer at Vascutek. We designed endovascular grafts for patients who were unable to receive a standard graft due to difficult anatomy or how progressed their disease was. Then I moved to a mechanical engineer role at Plexus, where I worked on various products within the healthcare sector, before finding my home at Cutitronics.
Finding the right fit
I love seeing the positive impact you can have on someone’s life with the development of a product that meets their needs, or simply brings them joy. I like to be invested in the work being carried out and to be around people of a similar mind-set.
This is what appealed to me about Cutitronics. The team has so much enthusiasm about developing this world-class technology and helping the company succeed. I knew I wanted to be a part of this.
I officially joined on January 6th, 2020, as Mechanical Project Engineer. I am responsible for the mechanical and industrial design of the product range, including developing concepts, making prototypes, evaluating design features and working as part of a team to create the best solutions. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get hands-on with the design from an early stage!
There is a great culture at Cutitronics, and a nice level of transparency and collaboration across the different teams. I believe you should be able to develop your career as you grow and your interests change. Your role should always challenge you to elevate your skillset, so it has been rewarding to join a company that encourages me to do so.
Inspiring the future generation of women in engineering…
I am extremely lucky to have a great support network, filled with strong female role models and colleagues who work in STEM. Seeing what others from similar backgrounds to mine have achieved is inspiring and has stopped me setting any boundaries on my own career possibilities, a challenge I know many women face.
I would advise women considering a career in engineering to try and keep an open mind, and talk to as many people as you can. If you don’t know many people in the industry, there are some great events for those considering or studying towards STEM careers (I would recommend looking at those ran by Equate Scotland). These provide valuable opportunities for networking and work experience.
It will be challenging, but this keeps things exciting and rewarding. Always advocate for yourself and keep pushing to find a career that you’re passionate about and enjoy doing every day.
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