She's an Engineer- Paula McMahon

Member benefit: downloadable outreach resource click here.



Route into engineering


From a work experience at my local council I successfully applied to be an apprentice there.  I was pleased to get lots of experience and I achieved an ONC in Civil Engineering as a Trainee Technician.  I was promoted to Trainee Engineer and I was lucky to be sponsored though a Degree in Civil Engineering.  After many years at work I became professionally qualified as a Chartered Engineer.

Job description

Civil Engineer, Sir Robert McAlpine

I have worked in very many jobs doing lots of interesting things including designing and building chemical plants, designing a nuclear power plant and maintaining The Thames Barrier.  I now help look after a major road called the A19 where the whole team look after everything including the road surface, bridges, trees and signs.

When I am going on site I need to check what I am doing by reading my Method Statement.  All equipment needs to be checked including the need for spare batteries.  Before driving to site we check our vehicles including lights, tyres and petrol. 
I now mainly work in the office where I speak to lots of people about helping them get trained and I help with keeping our site safe with our site safety leadership team.

The best thing about my job is the variety and that I have made a difference by building things people need.
Sometimes when you are working on site the weather can make work much harder!

I am pleased that I have been able to mentor lots of people during my career which has led to many other Engineers who are also doing good work.
I am also very proud of the three books I wrote about my adventures with Lottie - download them here 

Follow your dreams and don't let small set backs knock you back - have several routes to where you want to get to as Plan A does not always work out.

I am a WES Fellow and I regularly attend my clusters meetings.  We also put on events about engineering that people can watch.

By being involved with groups that share interests you can all help each other.