Hello and welcome to my blog!
My name is Emilie and I am a 28 year old Mechanical Engineer currently working at JCB’s diesel engine research and development department. I am a motorcyclist, avid adventurer and fitness enthusiast. If something has an engine and/or wheels, then I’m interested!
I was brought up with motorcycles being such a huge part of my life, from great memories of going to World Superbikes and watching Carl Fogarty in the 90s to spending hours riding pillion with my Mum on her Ducati Monster as a teenager. My grandad is Bill Doran, who raced in Motorcycle Grand Prix in the 1940-50s including at the infamous Isle of Man TT where there is a corner named after him (Doran’s Bend). Alongside my Grandma, they ran the Doran & Wright motorcycle dealership in Wellington which was where my Mum was brought up…sparking her love for all things two wheeled!
My interest in engineering has been with me throughout my life, spending hours as a kid helping (or more likely hindering!) my Dad with his woodwork creations in the garage and having a lifelong passion for Lego! I was very fortunate going to schools which encouraged hands-on learning, and my Design Technology department at primary school had everything from pillar drills to vacuum forming machines. I would spend my summer holidays making plastic boats to race across ponds, and building wooden fortresses and catapults for competitions. I’m so grateful for having such great opportunities growing up, and I am sure that my love for engineering has been very naturally developed by having these experiences from a young age.
I studied Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A Level, but my part-time work as a trainee motorcycle mechanic at a Ducati dealership was where I really felt everything starting to align. I was offered a full time position once I finished my A Levels which I readily accepted, and spent the next 2 years learning my trade as a motorcycle mechanic becoming the first qualified female Ducati mechanic in the UK.
Racing has always been my passion, so moving into the British Superbike Championship was my next goal. As an enthusiastic 20 year old I sent my CV to hundreds of race teams, and was given a chance to prove myself by CN Racing who were competing in the British Superstock 1000 Championship in 2012. From here, I spent a very happy 5 years working for 3 teams in the BSB paddock with one season spent as a full time mechanic as opposed to just working race weekends. These were wonderful years, and having the opportunity to work at circuits such as Donington Park and Assen, that I had so many happy memories from growing up, was really something I will never forget. However, making a full-time career of being a race mechanic in the UK isn’t hugely viable, so in 2013 I started working at Streetbike as a full-time motorcycle mechanic, using my ‘holidays’ to go racing. Here I gained invaluable hands-on skills along with some great mentorship and guidance, including gaining my MOT test license and Yamaha Certification.
This brings us to my current role and my route into becoming a professional engineer. I was advised by a good friend about Higher Apprenticeship schemes that engineering companies were running in the UK, which meant I could study for a degree whilst working. I managed to get onto JCB’s scheme, during which time I completed a Foundation Degree in Integrated Engineering, an NVQ Level 4 Extended Diploma in Engineering Manufacture and finally a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. I was based in JCB’s engine development team working on prototype engine testing, delivering several high profile projects alongside studying. It was during this period that I became a registered professional engineer with the IMechE and started work as a STEM ambassador. Since graduating in July 2019 I have continued in my role in the Mechanical Development team, where I am the technical lead for Power Conversion. I joined the Women’s Engineering Society in 2019 and I have developed my personal skills into mentoring and tutoring.
I am passionate about providing women and young people with a role model for engineering, to promote this career path and increase awareness around all of the cool jobs you can do within the engineering field. I have started this blog to give advice and guidance for anyone wanting to get into engineering, but also share my daily experiences as a female engineer working in the UK. I hope to be able to reach out and create a closer community between women who are currently working in engineering, to try and disrupt the competitive undercurrent that can sometimes be found between female engineers. I believe it’s important that we all work together to try and raise our profile and start accounting for more than 12% of engineers in the UK (source: https://www.wes.org.uk/content/wesstatistics).
I will also be blogging about my other passions, to show the hobbies and activities I get up to in my spare time.
I hope you will find this blog useful, funny or interesting, and would love you to reach out and interact with me to let me know what you would like to hear more about.
The Female Engineer