After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Engineering, Caz went on to become a secondary school teacher where she was subject leader for Designing the Built Environment. Throughout her career, Caz has been an eager advocate of helping young people to gain experience in construction and engineering. She has also dedicated a large part of her spare time to volunteer for various youth organisations.
Do you remember what first sparked your interest in engineering?
The first time I remember wanting to get into engineering was when I attended a family open day at BAE Systems, where my uncle worked. There were all these different workshops and simulations for us to get involved in and I remember just being like ‘wow, this is amazing’. From then on, I remember not wanting to be involved in anything else other than engineering.
This shows you just how vital it is to get young people out there and seeing all the different engineering roles available to them. Without that open day I don’t think I’d have ever got to where I am now.
Before joining Bachy Soletanche you were a secondary school teacher, could you tell us a bit about your experience?
Yes, so prior to this, I spent 10 years as a secondary school teacher and subject leader for Designing the Built Environment. This was a construction-based course that was revolved around encouraging young people into construction and engineering jobs. It was quite a specialised course and we were one of very few schools to teach it.
We taught the pupils about the process of designing and constructing a building, including the materials used and all the different job roles involved. There was a big focus on sustainability; when designing their own buildings, we would get the children to question what materials they were using and why. We were always getting them to explore ways that they could make the building better for the environment.
The pupils would spend a lot of time creating their own buildings using Revit, an advanced architecture software, which is used by many companies in the industry, including Bachy Soletanche.
They would even learn things like how to hold a meeting, including how to write an agenda and take minutes, which are things you don’t usually learn in school but are really valuable when you move onto the career ladder.
Throughout your career, you were involved in encouraging young people to get experience in construction and engineering, what did this involve?
I took every opportunity possible to get the pupils out and give them the same valuable experience that I had when I was younger. We took them to a live site where they could see piles being installed. We also organised workshops, talks, and trips around the local area, including to the Mersey Gateway Bridge that was being built at the time. In addition to this, I tried to push work experience opportunities as much as I could, building relationships with as many local companies and contractors as possible.
When I first joined the school, we did a survey of all the year 11s, asking them what they wanted to go onto and there were only two who wanted to go on to a career in engineering, which I was surprised by. That’s when I started looking into the different courses that we could offer to open their eyes to the sector. Out of the 55 pupils who completed the first Designing the Built Environment course, over half (about 30) went on to pursue construction or engineering, either through apprenticeships or further education courses.