Lauren Cunningham

Undergraduate Engineer

WSP

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Whatever it is you want to pursue, I have confidence in you.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

My job role is to provide connectivity solutions via the strategic road network to all road users, whether than be motorist, non-motorist, companies or communities close by. On a day to day basis, I work within a highways team predominantly working on schemes delivered by Highways England as their strategic design partner. I utilise industry standards to design the most sustainable highways, considering customer service and strive to improve customer satisfaction by creating more reliable journey times, improved traffic flow and less stressful journeys.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I opted for a career within Engineering, having studied STEM as an afterschool curricular activity during year 8 and 9. I then opted for "Design, Engineer, Construct", a pioneer GCSE, designing my own area using industry standard software "AutoDesk REVIT" with the support of industry professionals as my school was sponsored by Laing O'Rourke. I then opted for an apprenticeship as appose to the traditional university route, as I could learn on the job whilst completing my academic studies, gaining valuable experience which has enabled me to achieve professional accreditation with the Institution of Civil Engineers.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

The biggest obstacle I face is trying to change the way females are viewed within the Engineering Sector, hence the reason I hope to be a part of Million STEM. 

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

My biggest achievement was presenting at the House of Lords on behalf of Design, Engineer, Construct (DEC) at 19 years old. I wish I had the confidence when I was younger to follow my dreams and understand that if you work hard enough, you can make anything happen. I was so proud to be asked by Alison Watson CEO of DEC to participate and lead the presentation and I wish I had known sooner to be confident in my own capabilities.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love working in STEM because it proves that females can fulfil these roles to the same standard as men, if not higher. I love that we can prove to younger generations that you can find your feet within any sector, whether that be male dominated or not, and make a very successful career for yourself.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

DO IT! I am really proud to say that within 4 years in the industry I have:

- Presented at the House of Lords

- Achieved EngTech status with the Institution of Civil Engineers within 18 months of starting my apprenticeship.

- I was runner up for recieving the Jean Venables award following my EngTech review.

- I was Made in Manchesters Highly Commeded Apprentice of the Year

- Won two ICE QUEST Scholarships

- Undertaken a year site secondment with Balfour Beatty

Whatever it is you want to pursue, I have confidence in you, as Alison once had confidence in me.

INSPIRATION

Alison Watson MBE, her work and devotion to STEM and DEC is unparalleled and having built a fantastic career for herself and the difference she has made to both the Engineering and Education sector has never been done before. Had it not been for Alison creating this programme, shaping Engineering for the next generation, I would have been lost to a totally different industry, as Civil Engineering, typically, is not a career people opt for without the opportunity to explore exactly what it has to offer and DEC provided that.

NOMINATE A WOMAN IN STEM

For multiple nominations, email hi@1mwis.com

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