AGL’s Karen Scott (Fuel Engineering Officer), Jen Hanwright (Controls Engineer), Kylie Nash, and Junieta Sequeira (Grad Engineer) at the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day lunch in March 2020
International Women in Engineering Day – June 23 – is a day which seeks to highlight some of the amazing work by women in engineering and technical roles.
To recognise the day, we caught up with two inspiring engineers from Bayswater Power Station – Kylie Nash and Kirsty Taylor – who shared a few insights into their careers so far, and why they’re committed to improving gender diversity within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related fields.
Finding your passion
‘I was a bit of an overachiever during school,’ laughs Kylie, Performance and Reliability Manager.
‘I loved school, and studying engineering seemed like a good use of my maths and physics.
‘Reading is a huge passion for me, too, and my father – who studied literature – used to joke that maybe I’d become a famous writer someday, like playwright David Williamson who started out as an engineer. No sign of that happening after 28 years though!’
From 2016-2018, was the Production Manager at Bayswater Power Station. She now leads a team of engineers who manage plant performance reporting, and the processes required to improve plant performance and reliability.
‘To my knowledge, I’m the first female to be appointed as a Production Manager at a power station in New South Wales – which makes me very proud,’ she said.
A foundation for the future
Kirsty Taylor’s career is still in its early stages – she is currently completing her mechanical engineering degree, while working part-time as an Asset Engineer at Bayswater Power Station.
‘Throughout school, I was always into sport, and thought I would study physiotherapy or something like that,’ Kirsty said.
‘I was pretty good at maths and science, though, and my parents encouraged me to consider engineering.
‘I’m very grateful to them now, as I think they saw something in me that I didn’t. My dad in particular has shown me what a successful career can look like in engineering, and he encourages me by helping me along the way – although he is probably sick of me asking for help with all my assignments!’
Kirsty works in the Environmental Engineering Project team, which is responsible for reviewing assets on site and implementing solutions to reduce environmental impacts.
‘My work typically involves data gathering, working slightly ahead of my team by gathering information on our future assets and helping to make sure we stay on track time-wise,’ she said.
‘’One of the biggest highlights for me so far was traveling to Melbourne to present my project idea to the Operations Leadership Team.’
Kirsty Taylor at Bayswater Power Station
Diversity in engineering
Both Kylie and Kirsty agree that greater diversity is required in engineering – and they are committed to helping young women find career pathways and role models in this field.
‘I have learnt so much from so many colleagues at the power station over the years, but I’ve encountered too few female engineers along the way, unfortunately,’ Kylie said.
‘If you have a passion for problem solving and STEM subjects, then engineering can be an extremely rewarding career.
‘I’d encourage any young women in this field to take advantage of opportunities to get involved in women in engineering and other women’s networking groups. I’ve completed some leadership and development programs through AGL and it’s really opened my eyes to the power of networking with women who have had the same experiences.’
As for Kirsty, her advice for other young women is simple.
‘Don’t give up on maths in school!’ she laughed.
‘I know it can one of the most infuriating subjects but trust me, it will prove to be so beneficial when (or if) you decide to study engineering.
‘Also, don’t ever let the fear of being “the only girl” stop you from doing what you want to do. There will be ups and downs, of course, and there will be times you will want to quit – but you just have to keep believing in yourself!’
How we’re supporting women in engineering
International Women in Engineering Day is a reminder of the importance of investing in our female engineers, as well as other forms of partnerships and educational programs for young women, and diversity and inclusion in general.
At AGL, two driven committees of highly passionate people – AGL Equality and the Operations Gender Equality Team – significantly contribute to the balance of all genders.
From hosting mentoring and unconscious bias workshops, to Lean-In Conversations (which help women champion empowerment in the workplace), to panel discussions with leaders from across the business, our people are dedicated to supporting all their peers – regardless of gender.