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Stories from great women engineers at NDA

In support of National Women in Engineering Day, some of the great women engineers at the NDA share the stories of their careers so far.

Celebrating women engineers
Celebrating women engineers

National Women in Engineering Day (NWED), on 23 June, celebrates the engineering work that women do and showcases the great engineering careers available to women.

At the NDA and across our estate we have some great women engineers, including Kenna Kintrea (Assurance Director), Sara Johnston (Head of Strategy Development) and Amanda French (Head of Portfolio Management), who tell us a little about being engineers at the NDA.

Kenna Kintrea – NDA Assurance Director

Why did you become an engineer?

I enjoyed maths and science at school and my dad was an engineer. However it was a toss-up as to whether I pursued a career in journalism or engineering. In the end I applied to study Engineering Science at university.

How does being an engineer help you in your current role?

My engineering training and experience means I naturally take a structured approach to problem solving, and always try to drive to the true root cause of issues, not the symptoms.

What would you say to anyone who has a child thinking about becoming an engineer?

It’s a fantastic career choice that opens doors to all sorts of different, interesting and well paid jobs. Whether you are interested in medicine, environmental science, aeroplanes or computers, there are engineering roles that you can do. An engineering education also equips you with a very useful skill set that can be applied in everyday life.

Sara Johnston – NDA Head of Strategy Development

Why did you become an engineer?

I didn’t want to do a subject that was theoretical I wanted to do a degree that had a practical application. I was also very pro about the construction of new nuclear power stations and hence have a degree in nuclear engineering.

How does being an engineer help you in your current role?

It gives me a technical understanding of what we are trying to achieve and my experience helps me to identify the potential areas of risk and opportunity as well as the challenges.

Engineering is also a lot broader than just technical work so I have had the opportunity to work on different aspects of engineering such as design, construction, R&D, managing multidisciplinary teams, marketing, commercial, bidding for work and business management.

I think one of the biggest things to being an engineer is that you are always part of a team and required to work cross functionally with a range of people including very senior managers and directors.

What would you say to anyone who has a child thinking about becoming an engineer?

Then they should find out more and it is definitely a good career.

Amanda French – Head of Portfolio Assurance

Why did you become an engineer?

I was an Air Cadet and experienced many engineering activities, including driving an airfield fire engine and assisting with repairs on a fuel tank.

I loved mathematics, and after careful thought I decided on engineering for its practical mathematical application with the potential for interesting challenges.

How does being an engineer help you in your current role?

Having an understanding of the complexity, difficulties and potential constraints in the practical application of projects through my engineering background informs the view I have when conducting assurance.

What would you say to anyone who has a child thinking about becoming an engineer?

As a career opportunity, my view is it has it all, diversity, longevity and innovation, you can make it whatever you want.

Published 23 June 2015