“No matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s possible to be an engineer.”
That was the message from McLaren Applied Technologies Associate Systems Engineer Louise Mifsud when we caught up with her, after she had inspired the next generation of engineers at Biztech’s Engineering Your Future event held at Milton Keynes College on 25 October, 2018.
Q: What would the world be like without science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)?
Would there even be a world?
Look around you, at the buildings we live and work in – that’s STEM.
You go to a hospital and the life-saving equipment they use has been engineered. A garden centre selling a product to help plants flourish. That product has been chemically engineered.
How many times do you use a car? How often do you catch a train? It’s all made possible by STEM.
Q: Is STEM more important now than ever before?
STEM has always been important. There have been a host of technological advancements as we have evolved over time.
It’s about constantly pushing boundaries and this is only made possible by people. To keep progressing we need the students of today. We need the next generation.
Someone might be reading this and they could be the next Einstein. It’s all about empowering them to pursue a dream and STEM will give them the tools to make that dream a reality.
Q: Do you need to be great at maths to pursue a career as an engineer?
There are lots of different ways to become an engineer. You don’t need to rival the mathematical ability of Katherine Johnson!
Yes, it can help if you are a good at maths, but there are other routes. Take apprenticeships for example. They are a great way to learn and lay a foundation for a career in STEM in a practical environment.
Engineering is a way of thinking. It’s about ingenuity and creativity – not just mathematical equations. After all, mathematics is only one of the four elements which make up STEM!
Q: What is the role of a systems engineer?
We strive to understand what the customer needs, not just what they want. Once we have captured that, it’s a case of establishing how to achieve it through requirements. Effective requirements can only be determined once the purpose is clear and this is done by asking ‘why?’.
To go from idea to reality, a range of engineers work on specific areas of the project, for example mechanical engineers, software engineers and electronic engineers. It’s a systems engineer’s responsibility to bring them together to ensure they work collaboratively towards one common goal.
Q: Why McLaren Applied Technologies?
I have been with McLaren Applied Technologies for over a year now and haven’t looked back. It’s an amazing company.
Engineering is a multi-faceted profession and this is reflected at McLaren Applied Technologies with its four business units: motorsport, automotive, public transport and health. There are opportunities to move around and work across these industries.
It’s like being a child in a toy shop and having your pick of all the toys. For me, the variation is fantastic and is exactly why I love my job.
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