We're celebrating International Women's Day 2021. The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge, so we're looking at some of the amazing women who work at the AMRC and AMRC Training Centre who #ChooseToChallenge engineering gender stereotypes every day.

Name: Bethany Cousins

Job title: Project Engineer

Company: AMRC Training Centre Apprentice at the AMRC Machining Group

Describe your job? 

My job is focussed on developing novel machining methods used to produce gears. This involves working on research based projects to improve or develop products or processes that could change industry standards and improve productivity for all companies that make up the transmission industry.

Tell us about a typical week at work? 

My weeks are often very varied which is one of the things I love most about the work I do. I find the variation and range of work I am able to be a part of keeps me engaged, focused and working my best. The early stages of a project are often very research heavy, looking into any previously completed work, seeing what products and processes are available or are in development that could prove useful to the work we are doing at AMRC on transmission manufacture. This will often feed into some CAD/CAM work to theoretically prove out these processes or products. Following this, is my personal favourite bit of the job. A machining trial to test it out in a representative machining environment. These trails will be used to efficiently gather as much data as possible on the product or process. Or to develop the process or machining method to optimise performance and develop capability. The next phase is very data intensive where we will analyse all of our findings from the trial and put the results, lessons learnt and methods into a report for publication or future development I regularly engage in events and conferences across the industry to present the work that has been done at AMRC to allow for the wider industry to take advantage of the transmission research that has taken place at the AMRC Gear Centre. Each week will be built up through regular meetings with the wider team at AMRC and the customer to discuss progress, ensure the whole team are aware of the main successes and issues that have been faced on each project. These meetings are mostly held online now, but they still work effectively and are more important than ever since team members and colleagues aren’t just sat just across a desk. They allow for discussion, collaboration and team work which research engineering thrives off.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry or thinking of a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)? 

In all careers and aspects of life, you will likely come up against people who will think that you don't deserve to be there but a career in engineering is rewarding on so many levels, I have the luxury of working in such a diverse environment and I believe that is one of the reasons the AMRC has been able to do such impactful work across so many different sectors. Collaboration, discussion, that new opinion or impossible idea might be the continuously overlooked answer.

What is it like being a woman in engineering? 

I enjoy the work I do each day as I find it interesting and it allows me to progress, continuously learn and develop my skills as an engineer. I don't feel I have ever been held up or restricted being a woman in engineering. The AMRC and the AMRC Training Centre have always encouraged me to succeed and push the boundaries of what is expected. As each year passes the community of women in engineering continues to grow, more and more light is shed on the amazing work of women in years gone by and the work we will see in years to come, provides such amazing role models surrounded by a community of engineers all supporting each other and striving for better.

What is your greatest career achievement to date? 

The greatest achievement I have personally achieved has to be winning the AMRC Training Centre Apprentice of the year award. This recognition not only showed the training centre's belief in me but being put forward and endorsed by the team I have worked with through my 7 year apprenticeship and career has to be the most rewarding part of it all.

Why did you choose a career in STEM?

I chose a career in engineering as it allowed me to apply myself in the subject areas I enjoyed and performed well in. Engineering allows me to continuously progress and the range of work I am lucky enough to be involved in is extremely engaging. My apprenticeship background again allowed me to develop skills and knowledge both practically and academically with each new learning experience directly applied to work I am a part of at the AMRC.