Angela wants to inspire young women to consider a career in engineering

Angela Ryan is one of Irish Water’s leading engineers, who wants to inspire girls and young women to consider a career in engineering this International Women’s Day, (March 8). Angela is a Water Supply and Resources Strategy Specialist in Irish Water and has been working as an engineer for over 20 years. Angela recently featured in Irish Water’s “Story of Water” documentary. The documentary focuses on the critical value of our most precious natural resource and explores the ongoing threats to its future. It seeks to educate and inform; with a range of contributions from engineers like Angela, scientists and consumers. It explores the development and current state of Ireland’s public water network, with a unique perspective on the ongoing national project to upgrade the country’s drinking water supply and wastewater treatment, and the role we all have to play in conservation. 

In the documentary Angela highlights the increasing pressure that the water supply in the Greater Dublin Area and Eastern region is under. Speaking about her contribution to the documentary, she said, “In my role I look at the water supply requirements for the country over the next 25 years plus. The River Liffey supplies 85% of the greater Dublin area’s water and the problem is that in recent years, demand is outgrowing what the river can sustainably supply. I believe that it is really important that the public understand how precious water is and that treated drinking water is not in unlimited supply.”

The documentary also highlights the environmental impact of untreated sewage flowing directly into our rivers, lakes, seas and the consequences for plants, fish, wildlife and for amenity uses, and what is being done to address the issue. It also explains why levels of leakage on the water network are so high and what it will take to fix the problem. 

Why young girls should consider engineering as a career choice

Speaking about why young girls should consider engineering as a career choice, Angela Ryan says “Often the perception of engineering is different to the reality, and as a result girls might gravitate more towards more science based subjects as opposed to engineering. One of the key skillsets required to be a good engineer, particularly as you advance through your career, is the ability to make clear and well-informed decisions. Women tend to have excellent decision making skills and perhaps a tendency to question more.”

Angela’s advice for girls leaving school “Absolutely give it a go. You get to be involved in some really interesting projects and plans. I have worked in three different countries and on projects being delivered across the globe. I have designed everything from roads, to buildings, to water treatment plants, even a nuclear power plant. In recent years, I have moved more towards a planning role, which hopefully will allow me to play a small part in shaping the future of the country. Every day brings a new challenge, every day is busy and I haven’t had a ‘boring’ day in the last twenty years. I think you would struggle to find any other career where you could say that."

More information

For further information on the range of activities being organised by Irish Water as part Engineers Week visit our Engineers Week 2020 page.

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