23 June 2021
To celebrate International Women In Engineering Day 2021, we spoke to three of our female engineering community about their daily lives in their chosen career. Here is what they had to say:
What is your job at Prodrive and what does that entail?
Abbie Dalgleish (AD): I’m a Quality Inspector in our Inspection Department and it’s my job to ensure all the individual parts we produce conform to the engineering drawings. This is essential in stopping nonconforming parts making their way onto the production line.
Tharcika Karrunavannan (TK): I am a Graduate Engineer at Prodrive and thanks to that my role includes everything and anything. My role can range from working as a Project Engineer and analysing various designs using software, to physically helping the Assembly Team put final production parts together.
Abi Holloway (AH): My role at Prodrive is a Degree Apprentice Design Engineer, which means I’m currently studying for my degree in Engineering at the same time as designing components for the projects I am working on.
Describe a typical day in your job?
AD: Parts are brought into us from either our own machine shop or from outside suppliers. We then perform various checks using an array of measurement equipment including verniers, CMMs and Romer Arms to make sure they have been produced as accurately as they need to be. The variety of parts coming through the door changes every day depending on what projects are in the building, so every day is different.
TK: My day tends to be different almost every day too, which is what I love about Prodrive. From days working alongside the Assembly Team to help put parts together, to days helping the Business Development Team researching case studies to include in client presentations, every day is new and unique. The variety brings endless learning opportunities.
AH: Most of my days are quite varied, but generally my day will start off with a catchup meeting on the current project I’m working on, followed by working on CATIA designing components. If I’m in the office I will check on our 3D printers, clean them and set parts to print if required.
What’s the best part of your job?
AD: Having the opportunity to be involved in almost every single project we do means I can proudly say I’ve been involved in most things that Prodrive produces.
TK: Having the chance to learn and do something new almost every day is exciting and quite unique to Prodrive. I’ve already been in situations where I am requested to do something completely new, that I have never done before, but the trust that Prodrive put in me coupled with then successfully completing that task, makes me really enjoy what I am doing!
AH: The best part for me is designing a component which then is manufactured and used in a project. Seeing your designs on a computer screen is one thing but seeing it in real life, actually working, is the best part.
What are you working on at the moment?
AD: We are working simultaneously on three big projects right now including producing hydraulic systems for a hypercar, building GT race cars for Aston Martin Racing customers and revising the BRX Hunter car ahead of Dakar 2022. But the Quality Department work on every project, no matter how big or small.
TK: I am currently on a project building and commissioning a short run of complex manufacturing assembly machines. My role is to ensure that all the necessary parts are ordered for the Assembly Team. At the same time, I am working on making sure we successfully commission the machines before they are sent off to the client.
AH: At the moment I am working on multiple projects. For the hypercar we are producing the hydraulics for I am designing and producing 3D printed fixtures. I am in charge of keeping the 3D printers running and up to date. Also, I’ve been designing a “turtle” for our client Cosi-Care, who have an innovative solution for helping people suffering from Eczema. I’m looking into the aesthetics of the turtle as well as its internal electrical components, a heat sink and its air ducting. For Volta Trucks I have been designing components to go into the Volta Zero’s cab, such as the dash and I’ve been routing the electrical harnesses around the vehicle.
What are the 3 things attracted you to working at Prodrive?
AD: Prodrive is such a respected name in the industry, but more than that it was the fact that Prodrive works across such an array of projects, from running motorsport teams to helping entrepreneurs with their first prototypes that interested me.
TK: I was also attracted to working on the varied opportunities that you can find at Prodrive but saw people were backed up by a strong support system where Managers actually like to see you grow as professionals and people. At Prodrive it does not matter who you are, or what level you are at in the company, everyone is happy to help!
AH: The diversity of projects that Prodrive were working on was encouraging to see for me too. It’s been great to have Prodrive support me and help progress my education through Engineering.
Why did you pick Engineering as a career?
AD: I didn’t always know I wanted to work in engineering. But I knew I wanted to do something hands on, and I sort of fell into this career path. But I’m glad I did as I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
TK: I have always been interested in maths from a young age, and solving a challenging problem was, and still is, such a satisfying feeling
AH: There’s so many opportunities for you to make your own mark on things in the engineering world. Engineering always appealed to me because of the hands-on aspect, taking things apart and seeing how they work. Now I enjoy designing components that improve products.
Did anyone inspire you to become an engineer?
AH: My dad, grandpa and uncle are all engineers, so I’ve always been around people with the same ‘why’ and ‘how does this work’ mindset. Also, I spent most of my childhood either with my dad fixing tractors or with my grandad fixing things around our riding stables.
What would you like to go on to do in your future career?
AD: My career path could take me in so many directions so it is hard right now to put my finger on where the future will take me, but I cannot imagine myself doing anything other than Engineering. I love working in the Quality Department, so the next step I’m aiming for is to progress to a Quality Engineer.
TK: Although I have not decided exactly what I would like to go onto in the future, with Engineering being such a diverse field, it allows me to seek out many different possibilities and futures.
AH: In the future I would love to help develop new technology that changes the way we currently do things.
What advice would you give to other females considering a career in engineering?
AD: Engineering is so incredibly exciting and a very rewarding industry to work in. By its very nature the profession is ever changing with more and more women now pursuing it, so I would encourage any woman who wants to choose it as a career to do so.
TK: My message to any young women considering a career in this field would be ‘You are more capable than you think you are, and career in Engineering can open the door to multiple opportunities that you never thought you could possibly do’
AH: Don’t be scared of engineering, it’s not just rolling around in grease and dirt, there’s so many different aspects to it that you can make your mark in. The best thing I did was follow my dreams to become an engineer and not take the easy route. A career in Engineering is an incredibly rewarding career to have.