Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Kate Bunting

Kate Bunting

Kate Bunting is a Principal Engineer at Ramboll with experience in structural and multidisciplinary projects. After completing her studies at the University of Sheffield she joined us as a Graduate Engineer.

Kate BuntingMy first job was working part-time as a waitress in a restaurant when I was 16 working a few shifts a week. It was a pretty typical job for a school girl - there were no boys doing the same job! My first engineering job was a summer placement with Sir Robert McAlpine working on the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham. This was my first insight into the construction world.

I chose a career in engineering because I just loved science, maths and technology. I was ok at other subjects but STEM subjects really appealed to my inquisitive mind as I loved learning how things work, so I chose to study the subjects at A-level. I went on to choose an engineering degree as it is vocational and combined my favourite subjects with design and creativity. I had considered studying architecture but the seven-year course put me off somewhat, so I eventually pursued a degree in Civil Engineering with Architecture. While I was studying I found that I was more excited by the engineering modules anyway, so I made the right choice!

I now work with Ramboll as a graduate engineer. The thing I enjoy most about working in the field is that I love the diversity! I have worked in structural engineering and now in environmental engineering. The great thing about working in engineering is that you have the ability to really develop your skills and pursue whatever interests you – some people are naturally technically-focused, while others are born leaders. You can do all of this within the field of engineering and find your niche.

I think I was initially surprised at how many different components there are to a construction project and the number of people who are involved from different fields; engineers, so many different types of consultants, architects and quantity surveyors.

I have moved around within engineering so I have a broad range of technical skills, which really suits me. What I enjoy most is taking on the role of Project Manager and managing the control and risk while working with a team of people to create an amazing end result.  Many people are needed to successfully deliver a project, so it is important to understand things from differing perspectives. I also like taking the lead for my team and standing up to people when needed!

Encouraging more women to take up science and maths rather than enforcing gender stereotyping subjects in schools and steering them away from analytical subjects. I also love ‘Nina and the Neurons’ on CBeebies which I watch with my 2yr old daughter. Although she doesn’t quite get it yet, it’s never too early to start!

In terms of a project I would have loved to work on, it has to be the Olympic Park development. They created an amazing space and great buildings which really improved the area and it was delivered on time and to budget - not bad!

For the future of engineering, I predict better collaboration and systems integration with other disciplines through BIM and Civils 3D which will enable us to show clients exactly what they are getting from every angle. This is more of a hope, but I would also like to see fairer pricing throughout the construction industry and for the wider public to see the value in engineering!

I'm also encouraging my 2 year old to enjoy science - it's never too early!

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