Transforming Outdated Perceptions
Being a woman should not be a barrier to success in any industry.
Transforming | outdated perceptions
Engineering a convention-busting career
Plotting an unconventional route to higher education, Nina Cuthbertson started her GCSEs in her early 20s after moving to the UK from her native Latvia. Inspired by her family’s deep ties to engineering – her mum is a civil engineer, her dad works in construction and her grandad was a train driver – she never wavered in the belief that she would follow in their footsteps. Nina explains: “When I was in Latvia I completed a course in railway engineering and worked at a maintenance depot. I had to start from scratch when I came to the UK in 2004, sitting my GCSEs and then undertaking a BTEC in Electrical and Electronics before being accepted onto my course at Leeds Beckett.”
Nina balances her part-time undergraduate degree with bringing up her six-year-old son and a part-time job. Although this brings a host of challenges, she is single-minded about where her degree will take her, saying: “It’s hard juggling everything but I’m focused and have a vision of where I want to be.” That vision is to become an engineer – and she isn’t going to be put off by outdated stereotypes that it is not a job for women.
“I believe the stereotypes aren’t as strong as they were 20 or 30 years ago,” she adds. “Yes, it’s a male dominated industry, but it’s starting to shift in my opinion. I’ve never felt intimidated by working in engineering. If you show that you actually know what you’re talking about, that you can bring something to the table, then you’ll be accepted. Being a woman should not be a barrier to success in any industry.”