International Women’s Day – Case study

Rachel Flood

Meet Rachel Flood, Calderdale Council’s Flood Risk/Drainage Engineer

Rachel Flood has worked in the Flood Risk team in Highways and Engineering for almost six years. In her job, she has quite a varied role commenting on the flooding and drainage aspects of planning applications, being involved in drainage investigations, and working with contractors to undertake surveys and maintenance of assets. She has also been working to develop the Flood Risk asset register, is involved in writing Section 19 reports following from flood events and undertakes many other drainage related tasks. The week can be quite varied, mainly working from home but also site-based work

Rachel studied for a degree in Civil Engineering at Bradford University where she did a year placement with an engineering consultant and returned to work full-time at the same consultants after completing her degree. After a few years there, Rachel decided to apply for a skilled migration visa to Australia and went to work for an engineering consultant in Darwin, Northern Territory where she worked on a wide variety of projects and gained Australian citizenship.

Since returning to the UK, Rachel worked for another engineering consultant before joining the Council. Rachel classes the varied nature of the role as the best part of the job, while juggling different work streams as the biggest challenge. While she recognises that girls’ and women’s uptake in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as her own is increasing, it is no doubt still a challenge.

Early in Rachel’s career there were very few women in engineering, especially in Australia. Rachel shares that engineering was only promoted to her as a career option through Bradford University holding an event to encourage girls into engineering courses despite taking Maths, Physics, and Biology at A-Level. She believes there needs to be more awareness aimed at girls in high school that engineering and other traditionally male-dominated careers are just as much available to them as they are to boys

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