International Women in Engineering Day - meet Dominika Mackiewicz
23 Jun 2021
To mark International Women in Engineering day, we’ve interviewed a few of our staff who work in engineering roles within the South West.
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From project managing major multi-million-pound road improvement schemes to making sure structures on our network are safe, there are opportunities for all.
To kick things off, we spoke to Dominika Mackiewicz, Project Manager on the A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme.
So, Dominika, what is your role within Highways England?
I’m a Project Manager on the A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme
What made you want to get into a career in engineering?
I’ve always been creative and enjoyed making stuff. For a long time, I thought I’d go into art but then I found my strongest skills to be maths and physics. As a result, I married my passion and my skills by choosing civil engineering, where I was able to create but also got to apply my skills.
I’ve always struggled with the idea of having a standard, repetitive 9-5 job where I would have to work from the same office desk every day. Civil Engineering offered me a very exciting alternative lifestyle where I had the opportunity to work on many different sites and be active and mobile. It’s been really exciting.
Engineering has been a traditionally male occupation – has that ever bothered you?
I never let it bother me but in hindsight there were definitely some difficult situations. When I started working on construction sites nearly a decade ago, I observed that a lot of my male colleagues would struggle to engage with me on a professional level because they would be so self-conscious of the fact that I was a woman. They hadn’t experienced speaking to women about technical site issues and so found the interactions strange. Back in those days, I tended to be the only woman on site. It is much easier today because there are more women working in the industry, so a female engineer is no longer a strange sight.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the diversity of experiences that engineering has given me, I have worked in the field, during nights, on the railway as well as in the office. No two days of my career have been the same, which has kept me interested and developing. I learn something new every day.
What advice would you give to someone looking into a career in engineering?
Be open minded to the opportunities engineering will bring your way. It is useful to have an area of interest and a passion but the civil engineering industry is changing so fast, firstly with the technological revolution and secondly with the shift towards carbon neutrality. The jobs of the future probably don’t even exist today so make sure to be open minded to cease those opportunities when they’ll present themselves.