sophie graham ENGTECH MiMeche

Sophie Graham is a GED Metrology Apprentice at Caterpillar.

Tell us about your career pathb20171120_imeche_sophie_graham_0261 600

I joined the company as an apprentice after my A levels, having decided that university was not for me. I have worked here for four years. During my apprenticeship I have been given the opportunity to work in many different areas, including maintenance, inspection and machining.

What does your current role entail?

I am currently a technical lead within the inspection department, which means I am responsible for organising workloads, dealing with customers and ensuring that all team members are trained to the same level. I have also worked on many different cost-saving projects and with engineers on prototype components.

Tell us about your most interesting career experience to date

My most interesting career experience was when I represented Perkins Engines at the Society of Women Engineers local conference in the Netherlands. As part of a group of five young engineers, I gave a presentation on data analytics and its uses in engineering to a crowd of 200 people from 26 different countries.

Why did you decide to become an engineer?

I was inspired to become an engineer by my dad. He has worked in engineering his whole life, and it’s always been a career path that has interested me. I am a logical and systematic thinker so I wanted a career in which I could use and develop these skills. Engineering gives me these opportunities as well as having a hands-on element.

Why did you decide to become a member of the Institution?

We are encouraged to join the IMechE in order to continually develop our technical skills through the range of free resources, library and webinars.

Why did you decide to pursue professional registration as an EngTech?

I have always had the goal of achieving higher accreditation within the industry. My application to become professionally recognised as an EngTech will help me on this path, and hopefully further my career.

What was your process for working towards professional registration?

The apprenticeship scheme is approved by IMechE, which made working towards EngTech status much easier. Every month, my manager and I sit down to review the areas that I am excelling in and areas where I have room to improve. We work closely to close any competency gaps in my learning and to improve my overall performance. After each review, we track my progress from the previous month, and every six months we formally record it. I have a mentor – Hilary Lucas, a Chartered Engineer – who has supported me through the application process. I have found Hilary’s support extremely helpful for my career development.

How has professional registration benefitted you?

Professional registration has helped me achieve my goal of gaining a place on the HNC mechanical engineering course at my local university. I also find the webinars and other IMechE resources extremely useful. In the future, I hope that my EngTech status will put me in good stead when I decide to move roles within the business.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In five years’ time I would like to be working within an engineering team at Perkins Engines. My goal is to focus predominately on design or component engineering, so I can contribute to developing the next generation of Cat® engines.

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to a person considering working towards EngTech today, what would it be?

I would definitely say go for it! The free resources and support you receive from the IMechE are worth the short application. I have only been a full member for a short period, yet have already used the online library and webinars to improve my engineering knowledge. The IMechE EngTech offers so many benefits – it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted.

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