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Engineering: it’s not just about hard hats

You’re a female-identifying student, interested in STEM subjects, and wondering about what your future might look like. Well, have you ever considered a career in Engineering? It’s one of our many specialisms here at FCO Services, so we wanted to show you what it could be like for you.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. Did you picture a hard hat? A toolbox? Being up a ladder? The thing is, that’s just one aspect of engineering and it’s the side that’s most taught in schools, but in reality, there are a wide range of different career options – some of them practical and physical, others more office-based and focused on problem-solving, and some a mix of the two. It’s all about your preferences. So, let’s explore what’s on offer.

The first thing to say is, if you’re thinking about a career in engineering, you’re thinking about a career with paths into an incredibly broad range of sectors. It’s not just building houses or fixing cars. There are so many different specialisms – and yes, both those options are great career choices, but there’s so much more that you might not even realise. As Rebecca, one of our Senior Operating Managers with a specialism in electrical engineering, says in our recent podcast;

“When you get up in the morning, if you didn’t have engineers who designed your fridge freezer, you’d have warm milk. In fact, you’d have to go and milk the cow yourself. Before you could have toast, you’d have to light the fire. You couldn’t check your phone, or have lighting in your house. Without a car or bus, you’d have a long walk to school. Engineers are here to solve problems and make life easier.”

Within FCO Services, there are all sorts of engineering specialisms, all supporting our government customers. You could specialise, for instance, in CCTV engineering: using blueprints of buildings to design CCTV networks that protect overseas government compounds against intruders. Or you could be one of our Building Services Engineers – visiting British embassies overseas and planning to make sure they’ve got running water and power supplies, even in countries with unreliable electricity.

In fact, the sheer diversity of engineering opportunities with us just might surprise you. For instance, did you know that you could become a Seismic Engineer, helping us protect overseas government buildings against earthquakes? Or a Radio Designer, on the ground scoping out the best position for a comms tower in a foreign capital city? You can find out more about all that and more in our Virtual Embassy, but the point is, the range of specialisms here means that you can explore different options and move into something that interests you; that makes you feel proud of the impact you have.

Speaking of impact, if you want a career that shapes a better world, engineering is the way to go. After all, it’s engineers who’ll develop the next great innovations in green technology. You’ll explore new ways to power buildings without damaging the environment; new ways to travel the world with a reduced carbon footprint. Our teams here put a real emphasis on sustainability, so whether it’s helping to roll out solar panels across embassies or investigating new options for sustainable vehicle fleets, you’ll help protect the future for everyone. As Tess, one of our Senior Managers with a background in telecoms engineering, puts it;

“There’s so much in engineering that’s yet to be discovered, that we can do to actually help our planet. If that’s where your passion is and you’ve got the thought processes to be able to work through it, I think there could be some really fantastic innovations in the future.”

Whatever you decide to do within the world of engineering, it’s clear that you’re starting a career with vast potential. But there’s one thing about being an engineer with us that sets FCO Services apart. Unlike other employers, we don’t just offer an incredible range of different areas you could work in. We also offer a rare sense of purpose in whatever you do.

Whether you’re a Structural Engineer helping knock down walls for a new workspace in a government building; or a Telecoms Engineer designing communications points across a foreign embassy; you’re learning a specialist trade that protects the interests of our nation at home and overseas. You’re keeping people, buildings, and government communications safe, no matter which team you join.

So, yes, some of our engineers do wear hard hats. Some have hammers and spanners, and some are more at home with a pen and a blueprint. Some will travel the world on a regular basis, and some will be based more in our UK offices. But what they all have in common is this: they’re all engineers within a diverse, supportive and fascinating organisation. And they’d all be glad to support you to find your own path with us.

The critical thing is, if you’re a female-identifying student thinking about any kind of engineering career, don’t think you’ll be alone here. Engineering might once have been a male-dominated environment, but FCO Services are committed to creating a consciously inclusive workplace where, no matter your specialism, you’re part of a gender-balanced and supportive team. As Chris, a male ally and UK NACE colleague says,

“We’re an inclusive team, we’re a family unit, and we spend a lot of time travelling to far-flung places together – so we’re good at welcoming new people just like you.”

Plus, whether you’re up a ladder or in the office, you’ll also have role models to look to in achieving your ambitions. You’ll find women in senior engineering roles across our organisation, committed to helping you find success too. As Tess, Senior Manager, says;

“My commitment to supporting engineers of all backgrounds comes from my experience in my own career. Starting as a trainee radio technician, and following a varied career that included working to support technical systems in Asia and Africa, I’m now leading a team as a senior female engineer in an industry pushing for gender balance.”

Ready to get started on your own path? You might like to begin by taking a look at our Engineering page for more on the careers we can offer or, if you’re still at school, you could even take a look at our Apprenticeships page for an idea of how we support you as you learn about our industry. Either way, we can’t wait to welcome you to the world of engineering: it really is so much more than just hard hats.