Building Services Leading the Way for Female Graduates
9 March 2020
For International Women’s Day QODA spoke to some of our female graduate engineers about their experiences in education and working in the building services industry.
Our graduates have found that that building services offers a great career for women. We may finally be at a turning point where the industry becomes a leader amongst STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) jobs for progressing female careers.
Our current graduate engineers didn’t know they wanted to work in the building services sector at school as the traditional subjects they studied were not focussed on careers. However, they said this lack of presented prospects wasn’t exclusive to their gender but more how their education was presented to them. Our graduates have come from different schooling backgrounds and different countries and were aware of STEM outreach programs available to them. However, they didn’t feel the benefit from such programs as again the focus was on subjects and education rather than life skills or job prospects.
When applying for university, with little input and a lack of direction on their future careers offered to them, they applied for courses with multiple prospects. It seems this is where the study of building services really comes into its own. With multiple career paths, our graduates could see how what they had previously studied could be used in the real world. For those who hadn’t followed more traditional routes into engineering, such as studying physics, the applied nature of their courses gave them a better understanding of the function of these subjects and therefore gave them more enjoyment when studying science.
While studying on their courses they were in the minority as women, however, many of their tutors and lecturers were female. It seems that the hard work these women have put in has now paid off by offering them teaching and mentoring roles for the engineers of the future.
Starting their careers in building services with QODA, our graduates have found women within their teams and as mentors, which has helped them find their feet. Not only has this helped their transition from education to career but has helped show them further that women are no longer fighting for space in the industry but are welcomed and mentored just as their male counterparts are.
It seems the first part of the battle has been won. Women are in the industry, leading projects, teams and teaching. Now the challenge is for those women to keep building up the teams of women around them, including our graduates who have been at QODA nearly a year and will be the ones welcoming new graduates this coming summer. Engineering and architectural jobs are still mostly held by men but with building services always evolving and growing, the sector is a great place to welcome women into, especially those who struggled to find a fit for their skill set in more traditional routes.