BAME - The Education & Careers Guide - Spring 2019 - Issue 2

Page 82

We all strengthen SNC-Lavalin


he strongest advocates for diversity and inclusion are our employees at SNC-Lavalin, who have set up supported staff networks, providing more opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development, as well as contributing to the development of policies and working practices. The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities (BAME) network was set up to further strengthen our understanding of the challenges affecting BAME employees and provide an open and supportive environment for individuals to discuss these. We want to influence change toward more inclusion, help the business build on its appreciation of the diverse ethnic contexts in which it operates, and continue to support the business in achieving our diversity and inclusion objectives.

Heraa Anwar safety engineer at SNC-Lavalin’s Oil and Gas business As a safety engineer, I’m responsible for helping clients all over the world design and operate their assets safely. Working mostly on oil and gas or offshore wind projects, this can involve anything from modelling fires on a floating platform close to the Arctic Circle to figuring out how much damage would be caused by an explosion on a substation off the coast of England. I grew up in a British Pakistani family and could have never imagined that this would be my job. In fact, growing up I wanted to be everything: brain surgeon, astronaut,

Stephen Edwards senior structural engineer in the infrastructure division at SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business Working for one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies has enabled me to be involved in some great projects, all around the world; including working in the UAE on the Dubai Metro and being part of the London 2012 Olympic Park team. I’ve spent the past four years working on various projects at Heathrow Airport. I have always loved building things and at a young age I figured out I wanted to be a civil engineer. My family first came to the UK from Barbados in 1955, settling in Luton where I was born. We moved back to Barbados when I was 13. As I got older I started enjoying art, so when I returned to the UK on my own when I got into university, I initially studied architecture. journalist, vet – everything but an engineer. It was only when I was in the later stages of high school that I became interested in engineering, after looking in career guides. I was good at maths and science and was particularly drawn by the variety of job prospects in the engineering industry. The salaries were attractive, too! And that’s how I found myself studying chemical engineering. University was incredible, and I loved every minute of it. It was definitely challenging, but I had the opportunity to learn about a whole host of things, working with scientists and engineers from different backgrounds on a mixture of technical and business-related projects. The job opportunities after graduation were brilliant and I had a range of industries and jobs to choose from.

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After completing a year’s study I realised it just didn’t feel like the right fit, so switched to civil engineering. I picked a sandwich course, and got to spend a year in industry – at Atkins. It was a great opportunity to see how everything worked and reaffirmed that I wanted to be a civil engineer. After graduating I returned to Atkins, where I’ve now been for more than 12 years. As well as being an engineer, I am a father; my daughters are seven and four. Atkins has made a commitment to be a truly inclusive employer, and my daughters are the reason I’m involved in developing the company’s BAME network. My background and upbringing are a huge part of my identity and my successes, and I couldn’t bear the thought of my girls being met with prejudice or restrictions for being who they are. I’ve had nothing but support from Atkins, and I plan to do my part to ensure my children are met with the same. At SNC-Lavalin, no two days are the same. I can be working at my desk in Glasgow one minute and be rushing off to Brazil for a few weeks of workshops with clients the next. There are so many opportunities to work on complex and innovative projects, and it’s incredibly satisfying to know that I’m helping make sure assets are designed and operated safely. Something that has become increasingly important to me is showing that engineering is for everyone. When I was younger, I didn’t know any female engineers – let alone those that fell into the BAME category – so I hope to show future generations the possibilities that lie in engineering. Fundamentally, engineers help make the world better for everyone, and it’s a privilege to know that I’m a little part of that.

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