Global engineers coming to Ireland to work in positions which have arisen from the country’s critical skills shortage made up more than 40% of Engineers Ireland’s new members last year. The Global Engineer event series, curated by Engineers Ireland’s membership team, celebrates these engineers who come from around the world to settle in Ireland and who aim to make a positive contribution across all our engineering disciplines.

These events have a focus on introducing international engineers to Engineers Ireland member benefits and offer a space for participants to have their qualifications verified to gain membership. The events also provide context about working in an engineering role in Ireland; on harnessing the potential of social media to find a job; on improving soft skills and on developing CVs and interview techniques.

April marks the one-year anniversary of the expansion by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation of its Critical Skills List of Occupations to include civil, mechanical and electrical engineers with BIM capabilities, thereby allowing overseas workers to qualify for an employment permit, and facilitating the entry of skilled non-EEA (European Economic Area) workers to fill shortages.

On March 2, Engineers Ireland unveiled a new round of Global Engineer Events focused on engineers who have come to Ireland – these included a Brazilian engineers’ event on March 2; Indian engineers’ event on March 31; and a South African engineers’ event on April 28 (and more events to support other nationalities/language groups later in year).

In this special edition of ‘Why I became an engineer’, Brazilian engineer Luiza Brack tells us her story about why she decided to become an engineer and how Engineers Ireland’s Global Engineers events helped her career to date.

Tell us more about your involvement in Engineers Ireland’s Global Engineers event series

I have attended Engineer’s Ireland’s Global Engineers Events since 2017. I am incredibly enthusiastic about these events as they have helped transform my professional life. 

At the 2017 Brazilian Engineers Event, I was given all of the information and support to become a recognised engineer in Ireland. These events also afforded me the opportunity to network with HR professionals and hiring managers and because of the Global Engineers Events, I was subsequently hired by a leading engineering firm in Dublin.

How important are these events for the international engineering community?

For me, Engineers Ireland’s Global Engineer Events  are windows to show to international community that Ireland and the Engineers Ireland community supports all engineers who want to work and study here.

How did Engineers Ireland help you to become a professional engineer in Ireland

I am very grateful for all the help and support that Engineers Ireland has provided, I feel like my professional life and Engineers Ireland are intertwined. The Global Engineers Events provided me with the opportunity to network with my company and to secure an engineering role in Ireland and now I am doing CPD Diploma Level 9 with Engineers Ireland.

Initially, why did you decide to become an engineer?

It is an interesting question to answer because engineering was not my first choice! Growing up, I was a geologists' daughter, so I was into the scientific world and I was very curious about ‘how things work’.

For me, the best way to understand the world was studying everything related to mathematics, chemistry and physics. I was lucky that in my home country, we have a complete education in school and high school, so I was in touch with science since I was a little girl in home and in my school.

My parents were the key to open my mind to the world. They incentivised my sister and I to always study hard and follow our passion and do it in the best way we could. So, I always knew that I would work in the scientific community. It was a natural choice for me and my sister as well - she is a chemistry engineer.

At what age (or stage of your life) did you start to think about becoming an engineer?

When I was 18 years old, I started as a physicist student as I wanted to become an astronomer. However, after a few years in college, I decided to change my career path as I realised that I wanted a more practical path.

I wanted a career that I could actually use my personal skills, a career that would suit me better. So, I took advantage of all the lectures that I had done and transferred to a civil engineering course. It was the best thing that I could have done in my life. I could feel at that stage I was going in the right direction.

Since the beginning I wanted to work as a planner. I am fascinated about how a good plan and organisation can change things. I started to work as an ontern in this field in a big civil construction company in Brazil in 2010.

I used to work full days and study at night. It gave me the perfect and the best background for my career and life. After four years working and studying very hard, I graduated, and I was ready to go! I was already working in the biggest company in my country in the field that I had chosen.

What has surprised you the most during your career as an engineer?

Working in Ireland is a big surprise for my career! In 2016 when my home country was in the middle of an economic and politic crises, I decided to look to other countries that would accept engineers and Ireland was the best option for me.

Being an engineer has opened the doors of the world for me. I am able to work in a different language, in a different culture and in a different country and continent and still follow all the principles, techniques and methods that I have learned and used previously. It has given me the opportunity to keep learning more and more every day.

This is one of the reasons that this year I am aiming to complete a Level 9 course - it is bigger challenger and a huge step in my career.

Achieving gender parity in engineering is viewed as critical. Do you think women bring particular skills and insights to engineering?

For sure we can bring a different approach. In my point of view women are multitaskers and I believe that it is one of the key skills to be a good engineer.

As far I can see we need more women in engineering, we need more female role models. It would be great if we achieve a gender balance in this industry and I am very grateful that I can talk about my career here in Engineers Ireland. I hope that I might help and encourage young engineers to keep going or even teenagers to think about becoming engineers.

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