Taara, an exceptional engineer, who is on a mission to inspire and encourage young women to break barriers and consider engineering as a fulfilling career choice. In her Q&A, Taara shares her personal experiences, successes, and lessons learned on her remarkable journey within JLR.
Join us as we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day with Taara and many incredible female engineers here at JLR.
Q: What position did you start in and what is your position now? Please describe your current responsibilities.
“In 2017 I joined JLR via the Women in the Know Course, which enrols you in the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme (I prefer a practical approach rather than academic, so the apprenticeship was an ideal route into engineering). After interviewing and accepting, I worked as an apprentice in Powertrain for 4 years; completing placements in many areas such as Prototype Engine Build, Engine Test (rotating machine), Vehicle Workshop, and Emissions Certification.
After the scheme, I transitioned to Prototype Battery Build as a skilled technician; building and testing our prototype batteries in a high voltage environment. After 6 months in this role, I moved back to Emissions: here I supported our Chassis Dynometer Testing as an Analytical Measurement Technician. I learnt about our methods of testing emissions and how our testing equipment worked, including portable emissions on the back of a vehicle to get real driving emissions (RDE).
A year later, I moved into my current role testing our Powertrain Software. I wanted to experience the digital side of product development in the automotive industry. Part of my role is to aid the testing and creation of new Powertrain Software Features and their capabilities to ensure we deliver high quality products. Interacting with our vehicles is one of the highlights of my role and I’m proud to be involved in the process of creating them.”
Q: Are you involved in any other projects / networks? If so, please describe what they are and what your contributions are.
“In addition to my current role, I am on the Women in Engineering & Allie’s committee as an events lead. I get such enjoyment by bringing people together and can make a difference in the workplace while doing something I’m passionate about. The WiE&A’s Network really helped boost my career; I was supported by other female colleagues and given some great advice and opportunities, which is why I wanted to get involved and create further opportunities for other women within the field. I have previously had the opportunity to help with our STEM team, it’s so important for this industry to showcase all the great careers available and to have female representation. This is vital at a younger age for people to have to time to get invested. Currently within Propulsion, there is a great drive to diversify our teams; we are working together to promote the opportunities available and create a community. It’s a great department to be in! I’m looking forward to future events and engaging our engineering stakeholders to get their perspectives and involvement. Watch this space!”
Q: What do you like about working here?
“Every day I learn about a new opportunity or venture that JLR is exploring – no day is boring, and the company adapts to its everchanging demands.
It’s a challenge that we as engineers and technicians are excited about. This buzz and energy is what keeps me engaged.”
Q: What are your career aspirations? Do you feel that you get the necessary support from your management / department to help achieve your learning & development goal?
“I want to inspire people to have an enjoyable career similar to mine and to facilitate that, whether that’s as a manager or as a mentor, or even to lead a new test property project. Thankfully I have management who support this and ensure my career aspirations do not get lost in technical / product advancing. One of the things that attracted me to my current role was the involvement they had with our People Development Network (PDN). This network empowers individuals to upskill and achieve their career goals.”
Q: Describe your team / department, and what makes it stand out from our competition?
“My team have a great energy and approach to collaboration. We work transparently and in turn reap the rewards. Feeling able to speak up safely and talk about any issues creates a collaborative and group effort environment. When you ask for help, it’s never an issue or annoyance but rather people are excited to share their knowledge or ask if you need a hand. Similarly, if anyone has an exciting idea that adds value. It’s celebrated and recognised. This has a great impact on my daily work. Feeling appreciated in the team can be hard for women in engineering, and thankfully I have only experienced support.”
Q: What hints and tips can you share with the potential candidates who are going through the application / interview process?
“I would say be authentic; it sounds stereotypical but that’s because there is truth to the statement. Transparency is something that JLR hold value in. You need to be proud of your academic / career journey and how far you have come. Even if you don’t 100% fit the job description, you can adapt and learn that extra 10 or 20%. Make sure you showcase that you are willing to learn and adapt (which is arguably more important than the 10 -20%). A good manager will recognise and want to develop your skills further.”
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