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Home » STEM » From make-up artist to engineering manager: why STEM is open to all

Jessica Jarvis

Engineering Manager, Cadent Gas

As a former makeup artist turned engineering manager, I have the privilege of overseeing operations that ensure the safety and comfort of over 11 million people daily.

Through my work, I actively challenge the misconception that engineering is not for the ‘creative types.’ My journey from cosmetics to engineering demonstrates how diverse backgrounds can contribute to innovative solutions that impact millions.

Guidance into engineering

At school, I was never what people would describe as ‘academic’. I preferred subjects like dance and drama, where I could be my most creative self. I became a make-up artist for Dior, but then decided to move into administration at Cadent to earn more money and hopefully find a long-term career path.

From the minute I started, the support and guidance I received was incredible. Working through various admin roles and teams across the company has given me a strong understanding of the entire operation, building up my knowledge. I was asked to lead a network strategy project, and this introduced me to engineering.

Even though I don’t have a technical background, I quickly caught the ‘engineering bug.’ It’s all about problem-solving and finding creative solutions to new challenges. Never would I have chosen a career in engineering at school because my instincts wouldn’t have led me to science and maths-based subjects.

Encouraging women in engineering

Now studying for a Master’s in Engineering, supported by Cadent, I work in a role that has been historically seen as a male-dominated sector. I’m living proof that girls who would usually favour more creative career paths can do engineering, too.

Cadent is keen to recruit more women into roles like this and I would encourage anyone with a problem-solving mentality, who enjoys thinking differently, to explore engineering. I feel very lucky to work in such a fast-paced sector, supporting customers every day and being pivotal in shaping decisions for future generations.

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