María, a Process Engineer, has been working at our Seville recycling plant since 2022.
This International Women in Engineering Day, we want to celebrate the outstanding achievements of female engineers across the world. Despite efforts to encourage women and girls to take up careers in engineering, women are still heavily underrepresented in this field. In the UK, just 16.5% of engineers are women.
We speak to María, an engineer working at our plant in Seville, who tells us about what inspired her to become an engineer, and why representation is important.
Why did you decide to become an engineer?
I’ve always loved science and consider myself a very curious person. After graduating with a Physics degree from the University of Seville, I began working for Plastic Energy in 2022 as a trainee student at their advanced recycling plant in Seville. I started as a shift leader, and now, I’m a Process Engineer. Thanks to the Operational Readiness department, who helped me during my training, and the team at the plant, I have made a big leap in my career in the engineering field.
What’s your day-to-day job like at Plastic Energy?
Each day when I arrive at the plant, I visit the control room and quality assurance department. Here, I work alongside my team to make important decisions about the conditions and operations of the plant. I also work on an OMS manual, related to all the departments involved in operating the plant, to make sure it runs smoothly.
What actions do you take to keep everyone in the workplace safe?
We have a strong Health and Safety Culture at Plastic Energy, both across our offices and our recycling plants. Everyone in the team has a responsibility to keep each other safe.
We conduct regular safety walks at the plant to identify possible risks, then take action to mitigate these. Following operational procedures is a simple and effective way to reduce the probability of accidents, which is really important in our field of work.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? What’s the biggest challenge?
What I enjoy the most about my work is the focus on making the plant as efficient as possible, both in terms of the production of our TACOIL™ (our feedstock used to create new plastics) and the quality of our product. To achieve this, I try to anticipate possible blockages, or quality issues considering different process variables, and I now have a lot of practice in order to perfect this process. I would say achieving this is also my biggest challenge, which makes it all the more rewarding!
What more can be done to encourage women to take up careers in engineering?
In my opinion, female role models are so important. If women and girls see visible examples of successful female engineers, they can envision their future selves – and be inspired to take on careers in male-dominated fields.