In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), Alissa Cornish explains her role as a support engineer at Bristan, what inspired her to enter the industry, and why she is encouraging more women to consider a career in engineering
Q: What sparked your interest in engineering?
A: I’ve always had a passion for understanding how things work. I have lots of treasured childhood memories of following my dad around the house, helping him do various bits of DIY, and my interest developed from there. I’m a really practically-minded person and I like a challenge, so choosing a career in engineering was a no-brainer for me.
Q: How did you get into the industry, what sort of training was required?
A: I knew that I wanted to work in the trade, so when I left school I went to college to get the relevant qualifications. I eventually received an EAL Level 2 diploma in Plumbing and Heating, and also qualified in NVQ Level 2 Plumbing and Heating. Once I’d completed my training, I got a job with a local female plumber and started getting as much real-world experience as possible. In my experience though, you never really stop learning when you’re in this line of work!
Q: What does your current role involve?
A: I’m now a Bristan Care Engineer for Bristol and the South West. That means that in the event of any customer issues with in-warranty products, it’s my job to do whatever I can to resolve the problem. I see myself as an ambassador for the business – I’m going into people’s homes and representing the brand, which means that it’s really important for me to be friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.
I love how diverse the work is – I meet new people and face new challenges every day, and the Bristan team is really supportive and nurturing. It helps that I really rate the products too, I take a lot of pride in my work, and it really matters to me that I can respect the quality of the brand I’m supporting.
Q: What does the future hold?
A: At the moment, I’m mostly working on the domestic side of the business, but I’m training to work on commercial projects, too. There’s quite a few scenarios where being a female engineer can be a benefit, for example, working on taps or showers in women’s changing rooms or all-female dormitories – it can help put people at their ease. I’m excited to continue my career at Bristan and grow my experience, there’s plenty of opportunities and I want to make the most of them all!
Q: Is there any advice you’d give to women who are interested in engineering?
A: Just go for it! It’s so important to do what you love, and to push yourself, and if you’ve got a passion for something, why not pursue it? Engineering is still male dominated, but that is changing, and you’ll find huge amounts of support from your fellow female engineers, there’s a really strong sense of community. I’d encourage anyone to look into a career in engineering – I wouldn’t do any other job.