Chelsie is a Mechanical Services Engineer - Read her story:
This month's interview is with Chelsie Hedges who is a Mechanical Services Engineer at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services. Read about her day to day responsibilities, how she got there and the not so helpful 'advice' that has spurred her on.
Tell us about yourself:
Who are you, what’s your job, and what company do you work for?
My name’s Chelsie Hedges and I’m a Mechanical Services Engineer at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services.
Tell us about your position:
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Engineering and managing the onsite elements of the project from early design and estimating stages through to practical completion and building operation. My other responsibilities include a duty of care to me, my colleagues and my employer.
Do you get to go out on site and do practical work?
The work I do may be carried out in an office or on site and may include site measures, managing an operation, procuring plant and subcontract, checking consultant designs, attending meetings, checking and approving drawings etc.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the involvement and the environment. I love seeing the building rise out of the ground and come to life. I love the interaction and the hands on nature. I love the energy and the passion, even when it gets a bit heated.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
I would say the pressure to perform. Resources can often be low meaning the working environment can become quite stressful. The number of parties actively involved in a project also creates the possibility of conflict, so sometimes it can be difficult to remain professional, and other times being heard can be an issue. Determination and a level head are key for an engineering role.
Tell us about how you got where you are now:
What route did you take?
At 14, I joined an Engineering Diploma Level 2, accredited and run by City & Guilds. I did a Resistant Materials Technology and a Product Design GCSE as well. At A Level, I continued studying Product Design and then I applied for the apprenticeship with Balfour Beatty where I have just finished a 4 year BEng (Hons) course in Building services. The 1st year was a BTEC, the 2nd year – a Higher National Certificate, 3rd year – a Higher National Diploma and the 4th year – Engineering. My graduation is 13th July 2016 and hopefully I will do well.
What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
Advice to the 16 year old me? Keep going girl, you’ll get there in the end and reap the rewards. There’s nothing more satisfying than success and achievement, and knowing that you overcame the barriers other people said you couldn’t. (This reference is due to advice from educational professionals when I was 14 not to pursue an Engineering career as it was a “man’s world”)
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Going forward, I may consider a Master’s Degree but for now, I would like to make the most of my current project opportunity, East Wick and Sweetwater, which is a huge development in Stratford, where I can hopefully establish myself as an Engineer. Long term, my ambition is to become a senior engineer or a project manager.