WiE | Become an engineer and change the world

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by Rebekah Valero-Lee on


Emma Chapman works as a Building Services engineer for leading real estate firm CBRE in Manchester, UK. She started her career as an apprentice at the engineering design company, Morson Projects, in 2007 and now enjoys a career that takes her all over the world, and remains as fun today as it was eight years ago.

Words: Jennifer Morris

Hi Emma, what can you tell readers about your role?

Well, I am an engineer for CBRE; we look after the lifecycle of a building – the lights, the air conditioning, the water, basically anything and everything that moves or is switched on! I am always working on different buildings and come across problems every day. My job is to find those problems, understand why they are happening, and then find a solution. My working day can see me behind a design desk, or on a building site – it is very varied.

It sounds as though no two days are the same!

That’s right; CBRE has its hub in Manchester and I am there for about two or three day a week at the moment. The rest of the time I am out on site, travelling all over the world. CBRE has been amazing – my whole career has been pretty great actually – I have managed to travel extensively as an engineer. Last year I went to Switzerland, France, Spain, South Africa, Dublin and Belfast in just 12 months. I don’t think most people realise what opportunities there are in engineering – you don’t have to be stuck in an office all day, or on site 24/7, you can travel the world and see some amazing places.

You are pretty early on in your career aren’t you?

Yes and no – I came into the industry at a young age because I chose to take the apprenticeship route. But that also means that I have eight years’ experience behind me now. I was lucky to secure a summer work experience placement at Morson Projects, from there I was offered an opportunity to become an engineering apprentice. I jumped at the chance, and loved learning on the job. I had to achieve a B or above in my science GCSE to be accepted, so I worked hard and got an A! I had always been interested in physics, science and chemistry and I soon realised that engineering involved those elements. Prior to that I thought engineering meant being covered in engine oil and being scruffy and dirty all the time – and I’d like to think I’m pretty smart!

I have done quite a lot for 24, I push myself a lot. I am competitive which is a good character trait in this industry. It is male dominated and everyone is competitive, so you always want to do that bit more and beat the boys! I can’t help myself, it’s good fun.

Had you always planned to work in engineering?

I never thought of engineering as a career. Not a lot of people understand what engineering is – you can be designing aeroplane radar systems and submarines to designing a little tiny house or fixing a ship. It is such a broad industry that people look at it and just get scared.

You have worked in the industry for nearly a decade. In your opinion has the industry changed much regarding women in engineering?

Yes I think it has. When I first started my Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) there was just one other girl on the course who subsequently dropped out soon after. When I started my degree (BSc in Building Services engineering) however, there were eight girls on the course making up 10% of the overall numbers. It may not sound like much but it was an improvement. It does feel as though more women are entering the industry, slowly but surely. I always had strong mentors and that helped me understand the industry and feel confident in a male dominated environment.

There are a lot more women in engineering now, and there are a lot of networks in the UK and globally that support women in engineering. I think it’s about 12% of engineers are women; you will see us dotted around, we are there, and we want to get bigger and bigger. At CBRE 30% of the workforce is female and in a ‘boy’s industry’, which is impressive, so we’re getting there.

I don’t think many girls see just how creative you can be as an engineer, how you can make buildings look different and how you can make people feel differently just because of the lighting! And that is engineering –– everything around us, at some point, has been engineered.

And why wouldn’t you want to do that? Why wouldn’t you want to change the world?

Cx Jobs

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Morson Talent are currently recruiting for a Maintenance Engineer on an initial 12 months FTC basis (Likely to be perm for the right candidate) in the Manchester area. Location Manchester Salary £37,000 + 20% uplift for occasional shift work Hours Days based - Occasional cover shift work (6-2 / 2-10) The Person: * NVQ 3 or above in Engineering ESSENTIAL * Multiskilled - Mechanically / Electrically biased * Various backgrounds considered: Manufacturing, Automotive, Food, Distribution Centres, Automated Warehouse, Recycling, Biomass, Packaging or Printing, Chemical Plant, Brewery, Paper, Manufacturing Plant, Electromechanical / Automated Plant. * Health and safety focused, good awareness and a can do attitude. Desirable: * Bottling, material handling, AGV's, stackers, palletisers * Pneumatics, hydraulics The Job: * Assist with breakdowns maintenance and reliability of electromechanical machinery, equipment, and plant. * Maintenance of various sections of the plant - PPM and fault finding * Monitor production process & machinery performance. * Assist with PPM & breakdown. * Continuous improvement If you are interested in a new opportunity and would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 07739311930 or reply with an updated CV.

System Engineer

A Systems Engineer contractor is sought for a contract in Stevenage, Hertfordshire for a SATELLITE DIGITAL PROCESSOR SYSTEM ENGINEER position.Our client seek an expert in digital signal processor design and validation to join the design team responsible for the secure telecommand and telemetry system for a military communication satellite.The role requires an all-round grasp of the digital system, which includes both cryptographic and modem equipment, and its hardware implementation in order to support both system analyses and commissioning of prototype hardware. KEY SKILLS / PROVEN ABILITYProven Ability in any or all of the following topics will be valuable -Failure mode and related system analyses: FMEA / FMECA, single event effects and security analysis;Cryptographic processing and associated security functions;Modem functions (modulation and coding);Implementation of reliable digital signal processing hardware;FPGA-based prototyping and debugging;End-to-end RF communication systems testingSector knowledge: Space / Aerospace / Defence / Communications ADDITIONALTravel - Occasional travel to other UK sitesBase of Work - Following a familiarisation period on site this role will be working from home then working on site once COVID restrictions are lifted by the client - candidates must be able to work on site full time when required

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Morson are currently looking for experienced composite technicians for our client for roles based in Stevenage.Job Profile Assembly and final assembly of sandwich aluminium composite panel production. Inclusive of: - Potting of inserts Bonding of various brackets and equipment Film adhesives Panel completion General hot and cold bonding processes Drilling, reaming etc. High tolerance requirements (typically better than 0.05mm in various areas). Experience Essential:- Ability to work from detailed drawings and electronic work instructions - within specific procedures Experience working to procedures with checkpoints/quality gates Previous experience such as mechanical fitter, close tolerance sheet metal worker, time served mechanical technician Experience in industries such as Space/Aerospace/Automotive/Motorsport etc. Ability to work in confined spaces above floor level Desirable:- Knowledge of satellite structure assemblies or similar Modern apprenticeship Clean room experience Shifts Weekly rotating double day shifts - 06:00hrs to 14:00 hrs 14:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs Some weekend working Saturday or Sunday may be required at peak times. Other There will be a skills test at interview The successful candidate will be required to pass BPSS security clearance before confirmation of contract offer. Free parking is provided for this role in a municipal car park located approximately fifteen minutes' walk from site.

Warehouse Operative

Warehouse operative Principal Responsibilities Health and safety: Must ensure that safe working practices as stipulated by the company are adhered to at all times. Undertake any relevant HSE training as required. Picking: Accurately collect parts from various locations within the warehouse without introducing errors. Packing: To consolidate picked goods in a secure manner for direct shipment to external/internal customers. 100% double check on picked items to achieve very high accuracy levels. Dispatch: Consolidate packages on the relevant pallet and prepare for collection, i.e. pallet wrapping / loading into carrier cages. Goods Inwards: Check deliveries for damage and check against the delivery note to ensure that we have received the correct quantities of the correct products. Using Rf scanners Communication: On a day-to-day basis communication between various departments is normal. Responsibility for dealing with day-to-day enquiries in a friendly yet professional manner applies to all logistics staff. Operation of a Powered industrial truck is desirable if operator holds licence and is authorised. Other key links & experience areas Customer Services Manufacturing/Goods In Carriers/Couriers ISC Office Please note that these roles are currently part time hours from 4pm - 8pm.

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