Laura, Graduate Engineer
It was thanks to an inspiring Physics teacher at school that Laura’s passion for science and mathematics developed into a viable career option.
After initially considering a career as a pharmacist, Laura’s teacher suggested she participate in the Engineering Education Scheme to investigate her options. It was then that Laura learned she could apply her love for STEM to real world problems, realising a career in engineering was the right choice for her.
Laura, 26, joined BAE Systems in 2014 as part of the graduate scheme, having already had a positive experience with the Company. In 2010 she did a summer placement before starting her second year at university, and then in 2011 she spent her year in industry with BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information as part of her Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Engineering.
During this time, Laura worked with a number of teams and projects including F-35 fighter jet fuel systems, working to bring autonomous technology to commercial passenger jets and Hawk ground support engineering, all of which she thoroughly enjoyed. One area that particularly interested Laura during her graduate placement was Human Factors Engineering, where she worked with the team looking at cockpit displays, making the systems more effective and efficient.
After finishing the graduate scheme in September, Laura is currently working with the F-35 Training team as a Training Systems Design Engineer, helping to evaluate and validate the courseware being developed for pilots and maintainers.
Speaking of her path into engineering, Laura said: “While at school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in the future – I knew I enjoyed science and maths, but I was also very passionate about the arts.
“Coming from a traditional Asian family, engineering wasn’t really considered as a viable career option, especially for a girl. I took part in the Engineering Education Scheme whilst at school and it really opened my eyes to the world of engineering. From then on, I have never looked back.”
In addition to her day job, Laura is extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion and is involved in a number of STEM projects. These include engineering taster days and ‘Girls in Engineering’ events, which offer girls from local schools the chance to come onsite and learn about the various career options at BAE Systems. She is also involved in the Royal Aeronautical Society as Vice Chair of the Young Persons’ Committee, helping to organise events and develop their strategy to develop the skills of younger members.
Speaking of the challenges women can face in engineering roles, Laura commented: “It can be really frustrating to hear misguided opinions that engineering isn’t a role suitable for women, or that I was only chosen because of my gender and race. These kinds of comments are what have inspired me to support important STEM and diversity initiatives at BAE Systems.”