She's an Engineer- Geraldine O'Farrell

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G.O'Farrell

Route into engineering

My second job involved control panel design and the opportunity to go to technical college which I wanted so as to obtain my ONC and HNC. From there I became a junior engineer in my third job. I then took my Bachelor’s degree and eventually after another couple of posts became Design Manager at a large design and build contractor in London. From there I became a design consultant and then joined my present employer 21 years ago, which was my dream job -  combining my love of heritage, history, architecture and engineering I took a MSc here, gained my chartered status and never have looked for another job since.

Job description

Senior Building Services Engineer at Historic England

I provide help and guidance on how to install lighting, power, heating and water into historic buildings in a way that limits damaging them too much. I also educate people about how to retain old Victorian heating and lighting systems, also on how to convert them for modern use.

When COVID was not around it could be varied with on site meetings, giving lectures on various topics, writing to clients and helping colleges with casework, working with the Church of England on a lot of their old churches and Cathedrals, sitting on committees and councils to give advice and meeting with colleagues from other offices around England

Believe in yourself and don't be put off your dreams and desires because others don't think it's right for you. Push hard for what you want.

The worse things are that you are restricted by the fact that Historic England is a government agency and as a quasi-civil servant you have to be careful what you say and how you say it. You will never get paid as much as you would in private practice but you don't work the very long hours that other engineers do. You get to visit and see wonderful buildings and places and you are not hide-bound to a desk.

Winning The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers  (CIBSE) Silver medal for contributions to the CIBSE Building Services Heritage special interest group.

I have been made redundant a couple of times but it all worked out for the best in the end. I also had cancer a few years ago but again I worked through it with the support of Historic England and now it’s all fine

G.O'Farrell 3 pictures