UNSW Women in Engineering come for a visit

Image of Hollie Sykes
profile of myra muhammad
Written by Hollie Sykes
and Myra Muhammad
Incubator Labs Australia Our Approach Point of view

“During our Q&A session you all touched my heart so deeply regarding not only life but also engineering… It was so empowering to see women helping women in striving to achieve their best and advising us from your life experiences.”

IAG recently hosted 100 year 11 and 12 young women from UNSW’s Women in Engineering summer program. 50 attended the Research Centre in Newington, NSW (pictured above with John Farrugia, Senior Repair Specialist), and 50 came to visit us here in Firemark Labs Australia. The quote above was sent to us in an email from one of the students, and it perfectly reflects how both the students that came for the visit and our team felt about the session.


Hollie Sykes, Myra Muhammad, Sofia Ballesteros and Victoria Hirst from IAG’s Innovation team, and Elise McKenna from IAG’s Data team hosted a Q&A session, answering questions from students. Prior to this, we each spoke about our individual journey’s, and the advice we would give to our year 12 selves, which created an open discussion around what career paths we took that got us to where we are in Firemark Labs today.


It was also a great chance for the product owners of Safer Journeys, Insurance4That, ShareCover, and one of our external startups Snug to showcase their products in the Incubator.


One student has since applied for a 2-week internship with Snug, which is an amazing outcome of what an event like this can do to connect self-driven individuals to companies who can offer real world experiences.

Myra Muhammad (above) speaking to the students that visited Firemark Labs.


Out at the Research Centre, James Thomson, Oliver Klaus, and John Farrugia took the second half of the students through a presentation of what they do out there, and a tour of the facilities. The workshop tour covered what happens out at the Research Centre, including vehicle times, vehicle research, crash testing, safety assessments, and repair methods. John went through a ‘day in the life of’ with the students to help them understand what an engineer actually does. They got to see all of the equipment and test rigs, fire the hail gun, and watch a vehicle being dismantled and timed for NTAR (new times and rates).


During James’ presentation and tour, he encouraged the young women to ask questions, a lot of which related to getting jobs, how to apply, and how did you know you liked engineering. He explained that engineers solve problems and exist in every facet of life, relaying a brief history of when he studied engineering and how he ended up at IAG. He explained how he did work experience at the Research Centre that led to a job, and that networking is extremely important. James also discussed the ever increasing number of female engineers in the field, and that any idea of engineering being a male oriented career choice is an outdated paradigm. He advised the students that if they wanted to pursue engineering as a career, they should go for it and ignore the stereotypes.


Both the team at the Research Centre and here at Firemark Labs felt a great connection to these women, who were interested in both the opportunities that can be found within IAG, and the chance to ask their burning questions around engineering and the workplace.


Firemark Labs will continue to be more involved in programs like this in the future, as we love not only inspiring the next generation of our future colleagues, but we love being inspired by them and their fresh innovative ideas. We are looking into creating a work experience program within Firemark Labs and the Research Centre which will give students the opportunity to come and see exactly what we do day to day.


You can find out more about the Research Centre here.

To find out more about UNSW’s Women in Engineering program, click here.


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