For nearly eight years, Yousra Baghdadi has been a project engineer with EnerMech, an Aberdeen headquartered specialist in integrated mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and integrity services to the energy sector.
It’s a role she thoroughly enjoys, especially being part of a dynamic environment where no two working days are the same.
Yousra explained: “My day-to-day job involves preparation of operational procedures during the engineering phases, in addition to the direct control of all operational activities onsite to ensure smooth running and effective project completion. I must certify all activity is in accordance with the approved procedures for PPU, industrial service, hydraulics and flange management. My personal drive is to solve customer problems and I have been involved in the success of many projects for major operators including ExxonMobil, Shell and GE.
“As a child I was more interested in building and creating things than playing with traditional girls’ toys which led me to pursue my passion of engineering. However, growing up in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it was widely perceived that such a career path would be ‘too difficult’ for a woman.”
Undeterred and highly motivated, Yousra first attained a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Cairo University in 2004. In 2006, the first step in her career path was with the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company in Cairo. In her role, Yousra was involved in the implementation of pre-feasibility studies, evaluation of EPC contractor agreements and bankable feasibility studies for major petrochemical projects in Egypt.
While working, Yousra was determined to broaden her engineering know-how in the oil and gas sector and first undertook a diploma in Petroleum Industrialization Engineering, before completing a MSc from the University of Nottingham Malaysia in 2012. One year later, she joined EnerMech and travelled to Western Australia where she spent five years as a project engineer.
She is encouraged to see more women build and forge their engineering dreams but would like to see more in leadership roles. “I’d like to see more programs encouraging girls from a young age to have an interest in STEM subjects and to identify and develop those talents early,” said Yousra. “They need to be nominated or given scholarships in the field which will pave the way for their careers.
“As an industry, I feel that female engineers are still seen as ‘unusual’. But if big companies fully support equal opportunities during the hiring process as well as internships, then this negative perspective will change organically to the point it becomes outdated. I feel very fortunate to work for a business like EnerMech that actively encourages women to grow and succeed in the sector.”