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In case you missed it, our female engineers took part in a live half hour question and answer session on 23rd June via our @AtkinsCareersUK Twitter handle. Some great questions were asked on the day and here’s a snapshot of the best bits...

@AtkinsCareersUK How did you get into engineering?

@PixiePlunks I did a four year masters degree at Warwick after taking maths, further maths, physics and religious studies

@sarahfish19 By accident - I didn't want a job straight after uni so found an MSc course in Transport Planning and the rest is history

@SophieMcP I did a traditional degree route but did a Year in Industry BEFORE uni, to gain industry experience and break from study

@Josiedrath I’m an economist in an engineering world – saw a job ad that fit my econ-maths degree – analysis applied to the real world

@emily_thorne I completed a placement year with Atkins as part of my degree. I’d really recommend getting some real work experience!

@deblee02 What advice would you give young people hoping to get into the field now?

@PixiePlunks Take any opportunity for work experience, have an inquisitive mind, read lots and even watch telly! Engineering is happening everywhere!

@sarahfish19 Study hard and be interested in the world around you - enthusiasm and personality count for a lot!

@emily_thorne I would really recommend considering a degree course which includes a year in industry or work experience

@SophieMcP Get some work experience. Find a role model. Get teacher support. Enter STEM competitions. Lots of opportunities

@Josiedrath Be interested in things around you - how do things get built, how are decisions made? Get some numeracy in your degree.

@mel_searle88 what does a day in the life of a female engineer involve?

@PixiePlunks My day can be really varied! Design work at my desk, mentoring new graduates & apprentices, Client meetings & visits out to site!

@SophieMcP Lots of communication with teams + clients, thinking outside the box, sketching, calcs + writing. Sometimes a site visit!

@sarahfish19 Every day is different, that's the fun - on site, in the office, meeting with clients - variety is the spice of life!

@emily_thorne As an HF consultant, no 2 days are the same! I often visit client or project offices & work on the move with my laptop 1/2

@emily_thorne I am not chained to my desk 9-5 as lots of my work involves talking to people, site visits and observations. 2/2

@Josiedrath Same as a male engineer!?! Always something new, its really varied, task by task, project by project

@BeckyNuttall Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?

@emily_thorne Ask me the same Q5 or 10 yrs ago & I would never have expected to be taking part in Live Twitter Q&A on!!

@emily_thorne The way we interact with info & env. is developing & evolving I look forward to NWED 2025 to see how far we’ve come! 2/2

@SophieMcP Dream is to work on site on a big infrastructure project + I love the people element of my job so hope to lead a team 

@Josiedrath Hopefully I'll have seen some more projects I've worked on get approved and start to be built....Crossrail2 is the latest!

I plan to be chartered in the next few years & further in the future I'd like to be running my own project teams

@sarahfish19 At Atkins, working internationally on some new and exciting intelligent mobility projects with @alexcburrows

@LMcWells What projects are you currently working on?

@sarahfish19 Sustainable transport projects funded by the DfT to promote travel choice - working closely with the @thinktravelglos team

@emily_thorne I recently carried out a mockup of a control room.  We built full scale models of the workstations & equipment 1/2

@emily_thorne It was great fun and really brought the design to life, and gained invaluable user input to the design process! 2/2

@SophieMcP I'm looking at old water mains that need replacing, to prevent burst pipes and improve supply for customers (1/2)

@SophieMcP (2/2): Also working with the ICE on the side to research and encourage innovation in the construction industry, no easy task!

@Josiedrath Q5 See Q4 - Crossrail 2! Plus being the Practice Manager for Economics & Business Case London & Southeast Team

@PixiePlunks Currently designing roads & drainage for a big development in Derbyshire. Also looking at treatment options for mine water

@Atkins_VickyS What is the work-life balance like?

@sarahfish19 We work hard but we get plenty of opportunity to party hard too!  I work a lot from client offices so spent a lot of time travelling 1/2

@sarahfish19  Luckily we have really good I.T support so I can work on the go and make sure I always get  home to relax at a decent hour 2/2

@emily_thorne Atkins offer a Flexible Leave Scheme - I have bought extra leave this year and look forward to my holiday in October!

@SophieMcP I'm a serial volunteer! For @ewbuk, @frankwater, @ICE_engineers, Atkins really supports extra-curricular commitments #AtkinsMyTime

@Josiedrath An interesting career will be demanding, but you can fit in fun around work and now I have kids and I work around them

@PixiePlunks There's always lots of work to do so never a quiet day! We have a work netball team and a Pilates class though amongst others!

@Jharrison22 How do I encourage my friends daughter.  She has A levels in maths,physics, chemistry & geology & works in HR!

@PixiePlunks Try explaining the varied opportunities in the UK and abroad! Engineers play a huge role in society and everything you look at has 1/2

@PixiePlunks had an engineer involved! Find where her natural interests lie and there will inevitably be a relevant engineering role there! 2/2

@sarahfish19 Take her along to some free CPD events which will hopefully spark her interest. Also encourage her to follow organisations on 1/2

@sarahfish19 social media and she can be inspired by the projects we all work on 2/2 

@emily_thorne I would really recommend a 4 year degree, with a year in Industry 1/2

@emily_thorne I studied Ergonomics & HF at Loughborough with a Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) the year out working was great 2/2

@SophieMcP With just a short time looking at all the #NWED posts I hope everyone is inspired by what you can do with engineering!

@Josiedrath Show how exciting it looks on the ground - what is actually built / delivered, and media stories about interesting projects

@Atkins_skandola has being a female engineer ever held you back? #notjustforboys

@sarahfish19 Within the company no, I found more of a barrier was age as sometimes people think that because you are young you don't have 1/2

@sarahfish19 The experience or capability but those people are easily proved wrong when you do a good job 2/2

@emily_thorne Being female & working in Engineering hasn't held me back. Diversity of gender, knowledge & culture creates a strong team.

@Josiedrath No - women add diversity of approach and good quality hard work is recognised regardless of who you are

@PixiePlunks I wouldn't say it's held me back, sometimes it can be a little daunting and you need to be confident in your own abilities. 1/2

@PixiePlunks I've had to stand my ground at times but haven't we all?! 2/2

@SophieMcP I already posted this today, but a picture's worth 1000 words.




I am a Chartered member (C.Erg.HF) of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (CIEHF).  I have experience of working across a range of high hazard industries including Oil & Gas, Nuclear, Rail and Aviation, with a keen interest in all elements of user interface and ergonomic design, and operational safety.
Human Factors Engineering (HFE) ensures that human interfaces with complex systems are fully understood, to develop and optimise design solutions, and ultimately minimise the potential for human error.

Follow Emily on Twitter @emily_thorne

I am a transport economist providing project management and expert advice on scheme development, economic appraisal and business case analysis of major transport investments. I have fifteen years experience on a wide range of public transport and highway schemes.

My key experience includes rail re-franchising projects, major rail project development and business cases (Thameslink Programme , Norwegian High Speed Rail, Crossrail 2 and Thameslink Southern and Great Northern Rail Franchise for example) as well as fares and ticketing strategy development. My work includes project and programme management of multi-discipline projects, revenue and benefits quantification, financial modelling and cost benefit analysis

Follow Josie on Twitter @Josiedrath
I am a graduate engineer in the Networks & Drainage Engineering team in Bristol, currently working on mains rehab projects for Eight2O, the Thames Water Alliance. I joined Atkins as a graduate in October 2013, following summer placements in Bristol and Bangalore.

I won the NCE Graduate of the Year award 2014 and I am currently working as an ICE President's Apprentice researching innovation in the construction industry. I'm also interested in STEM uptake, diversity in engineering and international development.

I have recently returned from a 3 month Engineers Without Borders placement in the Gambia, where I worked with a NGO installing and maintaining borehole-handpumps.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieMcP

I graduated from Warwick University in 2010 and I've since been developing skills in product management, estimating and OJEU submissions.

I joined Atkins at the beginning of 2012 and I work as a drainage and highways engineer on land development projects. I also look at wider development issues, for instance utilities, earthworks and flood risk assessments.

I was a member of the WG&E Graduate Forum and now sit on the staff forum as representative for the Birmingham office.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @PixiePlunks

I am a Senior Transport Consultant with eight years experience specialising in sustainable transport, travel demand management as well as strategy and policy development. After joining consultancy after completing an MSc in Transport Planning I have worked on a wide range of projects for both private and public sector clients on Transport Planning projects but also business change programmes, alongside completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Performance Management.

Recent projects have involved Local Sustainable Transport Fund projects for local authorities including Gloucestershire and Hampshire. Through collaborative working with other companies in the UK and Europe I have been involved in developing Local Transport Plans which have been developed in line with European Strategic Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) principles. As well as being a member of the Transport Planning Society and Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, I have previously had a paper published for the Transport Planning Society and am a Regional Representative for Act TravelWise.


Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahfish19


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