Ricardo placement student named Most Promising Female Engineer 2022

Ricardo placement student named Most Promising Female Engineer 2022
20 September 2022

Rosie Reed is an engineering placement student at Ricardo’s Midlands Technical Centre in the Automotive and Industrial division. She is currently studying for a BEng and Integrated MEng in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southampton. She was recently named Ricardo’s Most Promising Female Engineer 2022.

“All students shortlisted for the award were offered an internship with Ricardo Automotive. I originally applied to Ricardo to complete a 3-month placement in Shoreham, however I live in Worcester, so was quite pleased when the opportunity arose for me to join the team in Leamington, a little closer to home.

Rosie Reed is Most Promising Female Engineer

“I’m half-way through my degree at the University of Southampton and will be going into my third year when I return later in September. It’s all with a view to following a mechanical engineering career in the Royal Navy, something I’ve been committed to doing since I was younger. I was one of only two people to be selected for work experience with 849 Royal Navy Air Squadron, which really kickstarted my passion to join the Royal Navy, as an Air Engineering Officer.

“My inspiration for joining the military also came from my parents, both served in the Army, my dad in the Royal Engineers and my mum in the Medical Corps. From an early age I was keen to follow in their footsteps. After spending time in the Army Cadets and learning more about the different military careers that I could follow, and completing the work experience placement, I realised that the Royal Navy would offer me something a bit different and an opportunity to develop my passion for all things engineering. That decision also gave me the focus to apply to Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College – where I was sponsored by the Royal Navy to study Maths, Physics, Electronics and Further Maths.

“Following the completion of my degree and masters I’ll join the Royal Navy for an initial three-years, to put all that I’ve learnt during my course into practical application. It’s something I’m really looking forward to.

“I was nominated by the University of Southampton to apply for the Most Promising Female Engineer 2022 Prize and that’s how my placement with Ricardo came about. The business is a global leader in engineering and design innovation in amongst other things automotive and aerospace. I applied to the summer internship programme, originally in Shoreham, but it was a bonus that I was able to join the team in Leamington, as it’s much closer to home.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Ricardo – putting what I’ve learnt so far at university, the theory beyond mechanical design and engineering, to practical use in what I’m doing day to day. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the placement, but it’s exceeded my expectations. The team around me have been great and I guess one of the biggest surprises for me is that right from the start my opinions, thoughts and ideas have been listened to and there’s a great deal of respect for everyone working in the entire team. Everyone is valued for the expertise and experience they are bringing to each role and from my perspective that’s been an amazing experience. I’ve been encouraged to get involved and supported the team to deliver projects for clients, which has been great from a learning perspective. It’s helped to reaffirm that mechanical engineering and design is what I want to do as a career. It’s also given me an opportunity to immerse myself in the world of work, which I’ve really enjoyed. I would consider coming back to Ricardo after my time in the Royal Navy.

“When you’re studying, it can sometimes feel like you’re in a bubble. You tend to be focussed on learning and following a specific course syllabus, so you don’t always see the creative side of engineering. That’s something that I’ve enjoyed during my time at Ricardo, experiencing how we take problems and come up with innovative solutions for clients. I’ve also enjoyed sharing the experience with other placements students and there’s a good network of graduates at Ricardo, who have helped me settle in and during my time here. “Alongside my studies and my work placement I’m a reservist and I’m a member of the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS), so I attend regular training nights and military exercises, whilst maintaining the armed forces fitness standard.

“Health and fitness and building skills is an important feature of this scheme. It’s great for me as I’ve always enjoyed sport, having played Rugby since the age of 14 and enjoy the outdoor activity elements of all these activities.

“Additionally, I’m a member of the Women in Engineering Society at Southampton University, which amongst other things reaches out to the local community, including schools, to try and encourage more young girls to take up engineering, or have an interest in STEM related activities and think about future career opportunities related to these disciplines. I think it’s important that young girls, and young people in general, have role models that they can look up to – who they can identify with and who can help them to develop aspirations in a variety of different areas.

“Engineering is still a male dominated area, but things are changing, and these sorts of activities and experiences are an important part of supporting that change.

“Spending time in industry and gaining valuable experience with a company like Ricardo is something I’d recommend. Applying and undertaking placements helps you to learn new things and work alongside others with incredible expertise and experience. It helps you to understand what you really enjoy – making it easier to define your career path and aspirations. I’ve learnt lots during my time at Ricardo and was really surprised and delighted to be given the Most Promising Female Engineering Award recently. I’m looking forward to getting back to university and putting into practice what I’ve been doing over the last few months on my course and then perhaps returning to Ricardo one day on a permanent basis.”