Yas Senthilnathan joined the Patrick Parsons structures team in 2014. As an experience Principal Engineer, she discusses women in engineering and the challenges she has faced on her career journey.
How were you encouraged to get into engineering?
My Grandad was a builder in the village we lived in and when I was younger I used to overhear the conversations he used to have about plans, roads and logistics.
Can you give an overview of your role?
In my role I’m in charge of delivering projects to clients, liaising with design teams, resolving technical matters and achieving the design programme. I also manage team activities and attend meetings handling client queries, variations and additional works etc.
Do you feel you have equal opportunities to men?
No not yet, there are gaps still to be filled when it comes to equality in engineering.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?
I’m a person that always wants to get the job done, lockdown was a challenge for me and it taught me lots in terms of self-management as I was spending too much time at my desk and I never used to get up, I’ve had to be strict with myself and make sure I have a lunch break. In July 2020 I took part in walkathon challenge of 300 miles in a month and now I make sure I walk every day.
Being a woman and an Indian in engineering is hard, giving me many challenges to face in my career. I have 15 years of experience in engineering and I have had many incidents of being ignored and my knowledge undermined. I have had to prove my skills to clients and contractors and felt at times that I have had to put in more effort than my counterparts.
What are your career goals?
To continue advancing my career in engineering and management.
What inspires you?
Self-confidence and learning from others.
What would you say to girls in school/college who may be considering Engineering as a career
The role isn’t as complicated as society makes out. If you’re interested in engineering, avoid criticism, believe in yourself and go for it!
Do you have any advice to share with your fellow female engineers?
As women we need to help and support each other. Lets work together to provide opportunities to our fellow engineers and ensure equal pay.
What is a common misconception that people have about careers in engineering?
People think engineering is boring and it’s a career you start later in life due to all of the education required.
What is your greatest career achievement to date?
Being a competent performer and always justified my position.
What kind of impact would you like your work to make?
I want the impact of my work to be on the people I work with. I want to have positive effect on my team and colleagues, helping and supporting them and to be known as someone that people can trust.
What are your hopes for the future of engineering?
Infrastructure development never disappoints and I’m very excited to be part of future complex structures!