As this is women in engineering week, we are looking at the stories of women currently working in engineering to explore their route into the profession and why they think engineering is a good career.
In today’s post, we talk to Blessing Nwachukwu, a Systems Engineer at SL Controls. Blessing is originally from Nigeria and made her way to her current role via an engineering degree in Romania. However, her passion for engineering pre-dates her time at university.
Blessing said: “From the age of six, I can remember I was always fixing things with my dad, passing him the tools he needed and doing what I could to help. He was a very industrious man and did most of the repairs in our house himself.
“At secondary school, I enjoyed chemistry and physics, but my favourite subject was maths. I did consider going into medicine, but I decided engineering was what I really wanted to do. So, I took an exam and won a scholarship to attend a university in Romania.
“I wanted to become an engineer, but it was difficult to get onto the Electro Mechanical degree programme as they thought that course wasn’t suitable for women. Another lady and I fought for our places, and we got onto the course.”
Already breaking down barriers, Blessing decided to take a slight change in direction.
“In the third year of my degree, I became more aware of the advances that were being made in the field of automation. I quickly realised that automation was going to be an area of engineering that was going to be in demand for years to come, unlike some other fields.
“So, I started looking into courses, and I got a scholarship in Ireland at the University of Limerick to study Mechatronics. It was quite a change from what I had been doing, and there was a steep learning curve at the start. But I took it upon myself to learn what I needed, giving myself three months to get ready.”
Blessing’s determination worked, as she obtained her qualification before being offered a job at SL Controls.
“From my experience,” Blessing said, “you will meet barriers even after you’ve made your mind up about what you want to do. I definitely met barriers in Romania. When this happens, you need to stand your ground. It helps if you know for sure this is what you want to do, engineering. If it is, the sky should be your starting point, not your limit.
“You don’t need to act like a man, but you shouldn’t hold back from expressing yourself and ensuring what you offer, what you bring to the table, is substantial.
“You also need to have passion. You need to have a purpose. Engineering is my passion and purpose, and I am thankful I am an engineer. It is very rewarding.”