ImaginetheFuture – INWED 22

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, Young Transport Professionals (YTP) is proud to celebrate the contribution of current/future female leaders to not only the current YTP committee but to shaping the future of engineering and the transport industry. This year’s theme is #ImaginetheFuture, with a focus on Inventors and Innovations.

Introducing Evelyn Tao…

Evelyn completed a Master of Engineering (Civil) at UoM and is currently a Project Officer in Rolling Stock Development at the Department of Transport having joined the organisation in 2020. The role involves working with rolling stock subject matter experts, suppliers and Franchisee to support the delivery of new rolling stock, major refurbishments and upgrades, with a strong focus on supporting local jobs and industry.

Introducing Caitlin Skinner… 

Caitlin completed a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the Swinburne University of Technology and since 2020 has been partnered with AECOM working as a Rail Engineer in the Track and Civil team. By working on projects such as the Rail Infrastructure Alliance and the Warrnambool Line Upgrade, she has gained in-depth experience in track and formation design and associated civil infrastructure, as well as cable containment design.

Question 1: Why did you decide to study engineering?

Evelyn – I was curious about how things worked and engineering was a really good fit. I like the process of thinking about a problem, exploring multiple options and coming up with a solution that benefits the user. I have really enjoyed my journey in engineering, I feel inspired by different engineering solutions, designs and the amazing engineers I work with every day. Regardless of how much time I spend in engineering, it is a continual learning experience.

Caitlin – Two words – Maths and Physics. As hard as it is to believe, both were my favourite subjects in school. I had a fascination with discovering how things worked and applying rules resulting in quantifiable solutions. Little did I know at the time, that this is the definition of engineering.

Having worked in transport since graduating, I can safely say that the learning never ends (and this is the best bit!) By continuously challenging myself to question and think differently, I am provided with an endless opportunity to change the world for the better.

Question 2 – What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

Evelyn – The two projects I have been working on are both very interesting projects – High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) and Next Generation Trams (NGT). I joined the HCMT project at the delivery phase, it was interesting to see how our trains go through comprehensive testing before entering service, as well as how problems and technical issues get tackled through the journey. When I joined NGT, it was at the early stages of planning and now the contract was signed for the largest tram order in Australia’s history. I can’t wait to see the new trams to run on the network that provides a more accessible and sustainable journey for passengers.

Caitlin – For me, I find the most interesting projects are based on their overall purpose, that is, what we’re trying to achieve and how it is achieved. The Metro Tunnel and Geelong Fast Rail are two very interesting projects that I’ve been fortunate enough to work on/are working on.

Both projects have the capacity to change the way people move and create new and improved connections within Victoria’s transport network. How are they achieving this? Well, from a technical perspective, delivering the best outcome requires the adoption of new ideas and technologies. My role has been in the technical aspects of the design, however, never losing focus on the bigger picture – facilitating safe and sustainable movements for users.

Question 3 – How have you found being a woman in engineering?

Evelyn – I can see the growing presence of women in engineering these days! I really enjoyed being a woman engineer as I can solve problems and make things happen just like many others in the industry. The industry is much more female-friendly as I can feel the general respect and willingness to support gender equality from many people. And I’m fairly confident that the working environment will become more and more welcoming to all female engineers.

Caitlin – Diversity in engineering is a trend that is here to stay! Even over the course of the two years that I have been in the industry, I have seen greater uptake of women in engineering roles, although there is still room for improvement. My experience has been a positive one, and if you enjoy questioning how things work and designing things, then the opportunities are endless regardless of gender!

Question 4 – What would be your best piece of advice for a female considering a career in engineering? 

Evelyn – Be confident and believe in yourselves, step out of your comfort zone and continue taking on the challenges, never estimate the power of mentors and develop as many skills as possible.

If you are interested in engineering and wanted to make a change, it is the time for you to join as a woman in engineering and pursue the career. There is high demand for engineering professionals in multiple disciplines, together we can break stereotypes and show the others what we can achieve, no matter our genders.

Caitlin – First and foremost I would say go for it! Engineering captures such a broad range of careers in various roles, sectors, projects and organisations. Reach out to professionals on LinkedIn, participate in mentoring programs or do your own research to understand what interests you. The industry needs a diverse range of people to support growth and this can only be strengthened by diversity. You have the potential to change the world.

Secondly, I received this advice on my first day at AECOM “There is no such thing as a stupid question…unless you ask it twice”. Asking questions is a part of the job description, and in my experience, people are more than willing to help you – unless you ask it twice.


#INWED22 #ImaginetheFuture