‘Don’t be deterred by gender sterotypes’ – inspiring young Kilkenny engineer
By SINÉAD CONNOLLY
TODAY is International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED19) and this young county Kilkenny woman is passionate about encouraging girls to follow in her footsteps into a career in engineering.
“Absolutely – go for it!” Caitriona Murphy (26), from Skeoughvosteen, advises.
“Don’t be deterred by gender stereotypes – if you have a genuine interest and are willing to put the work in then you’re capable of achieving an enjoyable, rewarding career. There is such a wide range of job opportunities across STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to suit different strengths and abilities. Speaking to people with careers in STEM about their work experience is a great way to figure out what area would be of most interest to you.”
INWED is an international campaign aimed at raising awareness of women in engineering and encouraging girls to explore career paths in STEM.
Caitriona, a mechanical engineer with Gas Networks Ireland, believes that if someone is genuinely interested in engineering it can be a very rewarding career.
“I think maybe girls don’t consider it from a younger age, so it’s not that they are deterred from doing it but they never really considered it. They really should because it such a rewarding, enjoyable job. It’s such a broad field, there is something for everyone regardless of where your strengths are or what you are interested in,” Caitriona told KilkennyNow.ie.
Caitriona, who attended Borris Vocational School, knew early on what field she wanted to work in.
“I’ve always had an interest in maths and drawing. I come from a farming background, so we were always building something. We were always building sheds or welding gates. In secondary school I always enjoyed Technical Drawing and Construction Studies and they are all elements of engineering. So when it came to the CAO form, engineering was the obvious choice because it had all my interests,” she explained.
Caitriona’s parents were very encouraging, and she spoke to members of her family who were engineers to find out more about it as a career. Following a successful Leaving Cert, she went on to study Engineering in University College Dublin and specialised in Mechanical Engineering. Not many students are fortunate enough to know the college course most suited to them when filling out their CAO form.
“I was lucky, it was before doing my Junior Cert that I realised that I wanted to do engineering. Once I graduated, I found a job that I really enjoy, so I’ve been lucky the whole way up really,” Caitriona said.
Currently based in Dublin, Caitriona is a Design Engineer in Asset Management. She manages the completion of detailed design of gas infrastructure projects, which includes reinforcement of the distribution network and upgrades of existing installations.
“I love when the projects come in, there are always new challenges, always new obstacles Its never boring, it’s never the same. There is a constant need for improvement and innovation so there’s never a dull day in the office. And I love that,” Caitriona explains.
The highlight of her career so far is being assigned to lead a large three-year Multi Occupancy Buildings programme. Caitriona knows there will be a lot of challenges down the line, but she welcomes the opportunity to up-skill and is open to taking on more responsibility.
Though it is a male dominated industry Caitriona has never experienced any gender bias regarding her ability to do her job. “It would definitely predominantly men at the moment. It would be nice to see more women in there,” she adds.
For the moment, Caitriona’s future is at Gas Networks Ireland where each work day offers something new. “It’s a great degree to have if you want to travel and maybe I will in a few years but at the moment I am quite content where I am,” she explains.
For more information, visit: http://www.inwed.org.uk