Please tell us a little bit about yourself..
I am originally from Mauritius and have been in the UK for about 6 years now. I joined ARUP in late 2011 as a graduate where I was introduced to the concept of railway telecoms. I have been promoted over the years and am now a senior consultant. I currently lead and manage the production of various deliverables including design reports, technical notes, surveys, strategy documents, drawings and schematics on different ICT and railway telecommunication systems. I am involved on a wide range of multi-disciplinary projects across various sectors including railways, sports, commercial, healthcare and government. My work includes research, design and advice on various telecom technologies and systems. I love it!
How did you get into rail and engineering?
My parents have always been very encouraging in science subjects, essentially because I was good at them. Physics, biology and chemistry, were always my favourite subjects at school. This is how I got into engineering. My teachers were also very supportive and I received career guidance based on my skills. Engineering was what I wanted to do and be in telecommunications. I did my first degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, then a Masters in Mobile, Wireless and Broadband Communications before joining ARUP as a graduate consultant. Railway Telecommunications was a fairly new topic then and I wanted to know more so I joined IRSE which led to my interest in the railways. Rail was unknown to me when I was growing up. There is no rail industry in Mauritius. I discovered the sector whilst at ARUP. I was fascinated by this unique field which requires a very specific skills set. I believe that it is an interesting time to be involved in the rail industry with so many changes occurring specifically in the sphere of digital railway.
What do you love about your job?
I like the engineering field as a whole. I love working as a consultant. It challenges me to remain constantly up-to-date with new technologies. I am always learning. It is hugely interesting and rewarding.
What would you say is your biggest success to date?
Being nominated as one of the 20 Rising Stars of rail! It is rewarding to be recognized as an expert in one’s field. The team I work with has been very supportive and ARUP is very excited about my winning.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 to 10 years?
I want to continue to learn. My focus at the moment is on wireless communications. I want to strengthen my knowledge and expertise in this field. There are many projects out there where improvements are needed, such as the provision of mobile services on trains. I want to be part of the team that makes it happen.
What do you think the rail industry should do to get more girls into rail?
The rail industry needs to promote itself better with the younger generation. Young girls need to be made aware of the wide range of careers the industry has to offer and this should start from an early age. Rail should also encourage apprenticeship, offer summer placements in rail companies and advertise site visits to trigger the interest of young girls and encourage them to learn more about the sector. Secondments are also very important. As part of the ARUP graduate scheme, I was seconded in HS2 as the assistant Control, Command and Signalling (CCS) System Engineer. I was exposed to the bigger rail picture, that of a modern railway. The secondment contributed towards making me realize the breadth of opportunities and learning potential that a modern digital railway will offer. Mentoring is also key. ARUP has an internal mentoring program which is very successful. On my first day as a graduate, I was assigned a mentor for guidance and career development. One of my career goals is to qualify as a chartered engineer and Arup has offered me a great platform to develop my skills set. Hopefully, I will be qualified by the end of this year. ARUP also offers training courses, take part in career fairs and organizes engineering awareness week workshops. I am involved in all these initiatives. During career fairs, I have talked to ARUP students about engineering, what my personal experience has been as a woman engineer and what the career prospects are. I have also prepared and presented at various workshops. I have been the ‘buddy’ to summer students and some have now come back as graduates!
What advice would you give to a young graduate who just entered the industry?
Young women should be encouraged to join networks and professional bodies such as the IET and IRSE. Networking enables you to meet fellow professionals and learn more about industry.
Do you have a role model?
My role models are more experienced people in ARUP, my mentor for instance. She really impresses me. She is a high achiever, dedicated to others and also balancing her day job with her family life. She is an inspiration to me.
What do you do to relax when you are not working?
My hobbies are travelling but even when I travel, I tend to visit project sites if possible – I can’t help it! When I went back to Mauritius to visit my family recently, I went to visit the ‘Mauritius Commercial Bank’ which is one of Arup’s award-winning project. What can I say? I am passionate about technology and engineering!
Interviewed August 2017