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Spotlighting International Women in Engineering Day

Published on: 21 June 2019

Nadia Lele

To celebrate this Sunday’s International Women in Engineering Day, we are delighted to hear from former Superyacht UK Young Design contestant Nadia Lele. 

Nadia has been working for the prestigious Olesinski Studio, a British Marine member organisation, since 2017 as a Structural Engineer. Here she talks us through how she became an engineer, what she loves most about her job as well as her top tips for becoming an engineer in the marine sector.

My family history is deeply rooted in boat and ship building. I spent a lot of my childhood surrounded by boats, observing all the goings-on in shipyards. As I grew older, I started building little wooden sailing dinghies in my family garden. My love of boats led me to study a Bachelor of Engineering in Yacht and Powercraft design at Southampton Solent University.

In 2017, whilst at university, I took part in the Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition. It was an incredible experience. I was highly commended and came in second place, winning the opportunity to spend a few days interning at the award-winning yacht and superyacht design house, Olesinski Ltd. During this internship I was introduced to a world of yacht design, where all disciplines of work come together to produce beautifully crafted yachts.

When I graduated the following year, I saw Olesinski Ltd were hiring so I got back in touch and applied for the role of a structural engineer – and I’m still in that role two years later!

My typical day involves a large range of tasks and I am in constant communication with the design team to ensure their designs are attractive, practical and safe. I spend a lot of time developing the structural package of superyachts including the models, calculations, construction drawings and reports. I also resolve structural or construction problems that may arise whilst the boat is being built.

The best part of the role is being involved in one project from the very beginning, when the concepts are created, to the end, when the actual superyacht is built and launched. That fills me with a huge sense of achievement.

Nadia’s top tips for women looking to become a structural engineer within the marine sector are:

  • Don’t be deterred from applying because you are a woman, I have found the sector to be welcoming to everyone.
  • Gain a qualification in naval architecture, structural design or construction engineering.
  • Sign up to take part in the Superyacht UK Young Designer competition – I learnt so much during the two days and made great contacts.
  • Be prepared to make compromises and learn how to problem solve.
  • Make sure you can manage your time efficiently.