Jaz Rabadia

To engineer or not to engineer? That was the question...

Like most students, I had no idea of what I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’. When I was younger, I was always creative, inquisitive and liked understanding how things work. At school I excelled in maths, science and design technology and took these subjects as A-levels. When choosing my degree subject I wanted to combine the subjects I was good at and decided on engineering because I knew there was a real shortage of engineering skills in the UK. I went away and researched all the different types of jobs available to engineers and was blown away by the number of different careers it could lead to. It was then that I decided that engineering was for me.

It all began on a Sainsbury’s checkout:
My career into energy management began with my job as a checkout assistant in a Sainsbury’s supermarket. I was working there part time whilst studying for my Mechanical Engineering degree at City University, London. Before I knew it, it was my final year and I had to do a project with a 20,000 word write up.  I decided to undertake an energy study at the store that I was working at. This meant I could work and complete my dissertation at the same time… seemed like a no-brainer! I presented my project to the Head of Energy and he was so impressed with it that he offered me a job in the energy team at the head office!I always thought my career was limited to working for energy suppliers; I had no idea that companies like Sainsbury’s would have teams dedicated to managing energy.  I later joined the energy team at Debenhams and now I’m managing all the energy and water used in Starbucks stores across Europe.

The engineering connection:
My role involves procuring energy from the wholesale markets, negotiating competitive contracts with suppliers, implementing energy efficiency engineering projects across the stores, setting accurate budgets, developing environmental colleague engagement tools and making sure the business complies with all environmental legislation. It’s a demanding, but rewarding job where I get to apply my communication, creativity and engineering skills. I use my engineering background to understand energy efficiency opportunities in lighting, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and building controls.

It’s not what you do, it’s how you think:
For me a career in engineering is less about what you do and more about how you think. It’s about being able to find solutions, get creative and have a logical approach. I love working in energy engineering as I see instantly the difference I am making to energy and water bills. The work that I do not only saves organizations costs, but also makes them more environmentally responsible.

Making a difference:
Engineering is not just hammers, spanners and boiler suits and if problem solving, team work and creativity are what you want out of a career then engineering is for you. With less than 10% of engineers being women, there is a real gap to be filled. The UK has recognized the shortage of women in STEM and these businesses are crying out for good female engineers. The opportunities to get a job, grow and make a difference within engineering are endless.

If you are interested in a career in energy engineering and would like to find out more please get in touch with me on Twitter @JazRabadia.

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