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Nicola Easton

Achieving Success with IEng

Nicola Easton is a Senior Electrical Engineer for BAE Systems, part of the Power and Propulsion team on the T26 programme, Nicola’s duties vary from raising design changes and creating cabling schedules to responding to build queries and authoring technical documentation.

Originally joining BAE Systems (Naval Ships) on a 2-year graduate programme, Nicola has since taken on multiple roles across her 4 years in the organisation, many of which were cross disciplinary which allowed her to expand her knowledge of both the company and her engineering skillset.

Like many people who go into STEM careers Nicola enjoyed physics and maths at school, particularly the electrical units within physics. However, a work placement at Glasgow University would allow her to discover what she wanted to do.

“I visited the different engineering departments at Glasgow and was most drawn to the work undertaken in the electrical engineering department.”

After successfully completing an MEng in Electrical and Electrical Engineering and completing the graduate scheme at BAE, Nicola decided she was ready to take the next step in her engineering journey.

Gathering Evidence

Nicola first thought about applying for Professional Registration when it was suggested by a work colleague and after some research, she “understood the benefits attaining Professional Registration could bring, including the greater opportunities within the workplace.”

With this new goal in mind Nicola began assessing her competence and working out a path to an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status, using her experience gained throughout university and her time at BAE. Nicola quickly found out the benefits of using Career Manager to pull her application together.

“Career manager is a great tool and allowed me to access and progress my application easily over time. The competency assessment tool in career manager was also great for completing my IEng application as it allowed me to track and assess my competencies and allowed me to download them as evidence for inclusion in my application.”

Nicola was also able to use her day-to-day role as well as stretch activities and her time as a Mental Health first aider as evidence against the competencies required for IEng. There was also support from a work mentor and a Professional Registration Advisor (PRA) supplied by the IET.

“Both my mentor and PRA gave me advice on the application progress and content of my application. My PRA also gave me tips about the interview stage, providing me with information on to what to expect but also what to prepare.”

The Professional Review Interview (PRI) is a key stage in IEng applications and one that Nicola was able to prepare for more effectively due to the advice and guidance from her PRA.

“The interview guidance I received was really useful for understanding what to expect from the interview and what to prepare. The interview process was more relaxed than I initially expected and a lot less daunting!”

Life as IEng

After being successfully awarded IEng Nicola noticed the benefit straight away both professionally and personally.

“Being professionally registered has provided me with affirmation of my credibility as an engineer and has increased my confidence in my abilities. I believe this has also provided me with more opportunities in the workplace in regard to progression and responsibilities.”

However, even with this objective achieved Nicola is not resting on her laurels and has quickly identified the next step in her development plan and path to success.

“The next step for me professionally to achieve Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration. I am currently working towards this and developing in those areas highlighted by assessors during my IEng journey.”

Nicola feels she has been fortunate to have had such a varied career in a short period of time and this feeds into how she views her success.

“I measure career success against role enjoyment and experience and knowledge gained throughout different roles in my career. I believe these different experiences helped shape my career and my development as an engineer.”

Importance of CPD

Despite already achieving some of her key career goals Nicola is still committed to tracking and monitoring her Continuing Professional Development (CPD), especially after feeling the benefit of doing so in her IEng application.

“CPD has allowed me to gain more knowledge within my roles, allowing me to become more proficient in the role and progress in my career. It has also highlighted areas that I need to focus on and gain more experience.”

Nicola has also found that as well as being important for Professional Registration applications, Career Manager was also beneficial for CPD.

“Career manager is a really useful tool particularly for recording and planning CPD as it allows this information to all be stored in the one place where I can access it at any time.”

Alongside this Nicola is also in the process of completing several online courses as she looks to further build her experience and competence before embarking on the process of applying for CEng.