Joanna Chetwood, Head of Park Design, Offshore
“My experience is that teams work best when there is a real gender mix. There are so many paths you can take in the industry to so many opportunities – from the technical to the commercial, market driven intelligence right through to development and communication. You can make an impact and it is fundamentally interesting.”
When I left university, I started my career in finance. But having studied engineering at Cambridge, I was frustrated and wanted to find a more satisfying job that made good use of these skills which I’d spent so much time developing. Working in an industry I believe in is important to me – I’m making a contribution to our future.
Having researched many options, I ended up completing a PhD in tidal turbines, which had a real technical focus, and the main sources for this research came from the wind industry – the technology is of course very similar.
My first job in renewables was in the marine sector and I went on from there to join Vattenfall seven years ago working on the wrap up and handover of Ormonde Wind Farm from construction to operation. It was an awesome opportunity to gain a deep understanding of offshore wind as well as project delivery.
The energy industry is interesting and complex with a really clear purpose - it’s about keeping the lights on for society. Today, my team lead the design of our offshore wind farms – project managing the technical aspects of the projects to make sure we build wind farms that work well. I really enjoy solving technical challenges so it’s a great job.
I’ve learnt that you don’t have to be driven by the conventional – there are many opportunities out there in fields like energy that are interesting, complex and challenging with a real purpose – roles beyond the obvious things that are associated with engineering like cars and machines.