23 Jun Nike Amiaka, Chartered Chemical Engineer, Oil & Gas
Nike is a chartered chemical engineer, working as a technical safety engineer in the oil and gas industry. She set herself up as a self-employed contractor 11-years ago, something she describes as a bold step in her career.
Nike studied Chemical Engineering with Biotechnology at Sheffield University, followed by a Masters in Engineering Business Management from Warwick. A keen advocate of always being one step ahead, she started to think about applying for jobs before she had finished her studies and went straight into the rail industry as a safety and risk consultant. A highlight was working on the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, managing hazard identification workshops for the London Underground and Heathrow Express extensions.
Now, as a contractor in oil and gas, her roles and responsibilities vary from project to project and client to client. “On a typical day, I might be participating in a 3D Model Review or HAZOP workshop, reviewing drawings and reports produced by the EPC Contractor, chairing progress meetings or liaising with Base Business or site to address queries on behalf of the project.”
She enjoys the variety of her job, because it builds her breadth of knowledge, which she knows will be useful as she progresses into management roles, something she already has her sights on.
We met Nike at the POWERful Women conference in May, since when she has been considering applying for a lead engineer position. As the working mother of nine-year-old twins, she faces her own personal challenges in juggling work with raising a family. When we spoke to her she was travelling from a work team meeting to a school athletics competition via the supermarket! But she knows the opportunities for management are out there.
One of the takeaways from the conference was the importance of raising her profile. She has since published two articles on LinkedIn that have had several thousand views, including one from her old High School teacher in Nigeria.
She is a strong supporter of encouraging more women into engineering. She promotes STEM subjects to school girls and boys in her community and is aware of being a positive role model for her own girls. She believes it is important for energy company leaders to open up more opportunities for senior women – one of POWERful Women’s objectives – and for women to support each other and network more openly. She acknowledges the huge amount of support she has received from colleagues throughout her career – and has never been afraid to ask for advice.
Her own advice for young female engineers starting out? Plan your career route carefully with a clear goal, but be flexible. Accept any help that is offered and join your professional body, like IChemE. Finally, embrace lots of different roles, not just engineering, but also people / project management and business development – keep networking, keep learning and keep an open mind as it may lead you down interesting paths.