Starting her career at TSP Projects as a member of the Document Control team with a degree in English Language, Hana retrained through an apprenticeship and is now a Track Design Engineer responsible for a team of technicians with a HNC in Civil Engineering.

Hana is involved in track design, particularly with regards to gauging which she describes as:

“how we check trains are running safely and not too close to structures, platforms and other trains. It ensures passengers’ stepping distance isn’t too far and you don’t have to jump off the train.”

Other aspects that Hana works on include line speed improvements and introducing new trains into service, which are “all the things that make a difference to people’s journeys and day-to-day lives.”

Hana believes her biggest achievement whilst working at TSP Projects has been the rapid growth of her engineering knowledge which has taken place over a relatively short period of time. She entered her role with no prior knowledge of the field, and now people come to her with their questions.

She was the winner of the Young Professional of the Year category in the 2018 Business Excellence Awards for her professional ability, technical knowledge, positive attitude, and personable nature in all aspects of her work.

Why did you change job roles / careers?

“When I was growing up, everyone I knew who was interested in science was going to be a doctor and I didn’t want to be a doctor. I did like science, and art, but I didn’t know what else there was to consider, so I did English literature at university”

In her initial support role in Document Control she was exposed to the technical side of the rail industry and realised there was a lot more to engineering than she thought.

An opportunity with TSP Projects became available as they were recruiting for technical entry level roles across disciplines that did not require previous experience.  After two years of internal training and developing technician skills, the company arranged for Hana to attend part-time study at college alongside her office work. In 2017, she completed her HNC in Construction and the Built Environment (Civil Engineering) and was promoted to Engineer.

How would you try and explain engineering to others and encourage them to look into engineering and technical roles?

“If you are someone who likes solving problems then engineering is a good fit. A lot of engineering is solving problems, putting the puzzle pieces together and finding solutions. It is about working with people. There are so many more skills to it than being excellent at maths or physics – how you explain why your solution is good and how you arrived at the solution is just as important.”

Hana is dedicated to going into schools to promote engineering careers and although she was nervous to begin with she now focuses on being relatable.

“It’s more about them realising the range of people in the industry and that there are people like them doing it.”

My advice to young people is talk to people and ask questions! It is easy to stay in your bubble but if you would like to know more about another role or career path just approach others and ask them about their experience, they will be more than happy to talk about it.”

“When I first started out on my new path I was a little overwhelmed by all the information and learning I faced.  By taking a step back and looking at what I needed to know, I have been able to develop my knowledge and feel more confident.

“I’m a big believer in asking questions – sometimes people don’t want to ask questions because they don’t want to seem like they don’t know, but you’re not expected to know everything, everyone is still learning things.”