Women in Aviation - Tina Lukins

by Tina Lukins on Mar 06 2019
My name is Tina Lukins and my journey into engineering happened 25 years ago. I had always been interested in how things were made and although it wasn’t my original career choice I have come to believe that everything happens for a reason.

I was offered a place at university on a HND Manufacturing Management Course with the potential of progression onto a degree course, which I took, completing a BEng in Manufacturing and Business Studies. This also enabled me to complete a year in industry working for a company supplying various automotive company’s worldwide. After completing University, I started working for what is now L3, and I have been for around the last 18 years.

For 17 years of that, I have worked in the Quality Department. This has enabled me to have a very varied view of how the company works, across all departments and all disciplines. I’ve gone from checking manufacturing drawings, to understanding how to test our visual systems. I’ve worked with the production and test engineers looking at issues as well as helping to define processes, and I now look after the Environment, Health and Safety for the new London Training Center at London Gatwick.

When I started my journey in engineering, I was the only female on both my HND and degree course, and although there’s still not a gender balance, a change has been happening over the last few years. Attitudes have also changed within the work place; it is about skill set and knowledge, not about gender. I was once involved in a ‘Young Engineers’ group, where we held a workshop to understand how we could encourage and change the image of young engineers in the workplace. We were asked ‘is it truly how others see young engineers or how you believe others see young engineers?’, meaning you don’t really know how others truly see you, so do your best and have the courage to go for what you want.

Over the last few years, I have also been involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) activities; I see this as my chance to encourage students into engineering. My goal is to show that you do not have to be male to go into engineering and, how wide a scope engineering can be in so many industries. I wanted to show that I started in a completely different direction, and got into engineering within the automotive industry before transferring in to the aviation industry.

There are challenges within the industry, and yes, being female is one of them. That said, this is becoming far less challenging, and the rewards are great. To be able to say I have an engineering degree, and that by working at L3 I help to make the sky a safer place, is just one of those rewards. I would say to anyone who is wondering whether to go into the industry - try it, grab the chance with both hands as you never know where it’s going to take you.