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Elizabeth Ginns

I did a mixed bag of A levels and wasn't really sure what to study until I came across the Mechanical Engineering course at Warwick University. It appealed to me because it was a practical way of doing Maths.

At the end of the second year I decided to switch to Manufacturing Systems Engineering, I especially enjoyed the modules on materials and processes, engineering design, CAD/CAM, operations planning, and tooling. My final year project was on a process called 'pultrusion' and composite materials, and after university I learnt my research was used in further work!

After university I became a maths teacher by doing a PGCE program called SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) where I had the opportunity to train as either a maths or science teacher. I went with maths. Now I work at an independent school in Northamptonshire, the favourite aspect of maths I like to teach is the Decision part of the A level which has very close links with the project management parts of my degree.

In addition, I enjoy inspiring students to consider Engineering as a possible career route, the preconceptions of the pupils are sometimes very outdated, too many think it's all about fixing engines and getting dirty!

Fact file

What interests do you have outside of work? I marshal at Silverstone (I recently marshalled the Formula Student competition) and swim in open water with a wetsuit.

What A levels did you take? Maths, Further Maths (AS), English literature, Biology and French

Why did you choose to study Engineering? It's a practical way of doing Maths, and you get to see how things are made and work!

Where do you currently work? Quinton House School in Northampton

What’s your position at the school? Head of Sixth Form, and Maths teacher

Can you describe a typical day?
7:30: off to school, prep. for the first lesson at 9am
9am: teach some maths, spend time with the Sixth form guiding them in their studies and career aspirations
12:20: lunch, but usually spent helping children with maths, more lessons in the afternoon until 3:45pm.
3.45pm onwards: Work doesn't end here! I spend a few hours every day marking work and planning lessons.

The holidays are wonderful, but it's because teachers have to pack 12 months into 10 months really! My Engineering degree still helps with teaching Maths, as I can give practical examples and reasons behind many of the areas of Maths that we cover.

What achievement are you most proud of? Getting my Engineering degree, travelling with my job (I have been to Singapore and spent time looking at a very different education system), and swimming 5 miles in Salford Quays this summer!

What are your career aspirations? I love the job I have, and through it I hope to inspire more girls to take on the 'boys' subjects, and do degrees in areas such as Engineering, Maths, Physics, etc

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying engineering? Take on the challenge - there are lots of areas of Engineering, there is sure to be a part that interests you. It's very practical and definitely not all about getting oily and dirty

Some young women may have concerns about entering a male dominated industry. What are your experiences? If you know your stuff and want to get on, you can. Men are people too! And it's not about needing to be strong and wanting to dismantle engines.

Why should more women enter the engineering profession? Why let men have all the fun!