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Aysh Yapa

Systems Engineering Graduate, Airbus Operations Ltd

Don’t worry if you are confused about which STEM career is right for you, says Graduate Systems Engineer Aysh Yapa. Get some experience to see where your interests lie.

Aysh Yapa always loved science and maths at school and knew that she was destined to be an engineer. The problem was she had no idea which area of engineering she wanted to focus on.

She ended up in the aerospace sector “by chance,” she says. “I studied electronic, electrical and systems engineering at university as a way to keep all of my options open,” she reveals. “I knew it was a degree that can be applied to many different areas of engineering, including automotive and aerospace. I just had to find the right one for me.”

Aysh’s lightbulb moment came at university when she had a conversation with a lecturer who mentioned aerospace and Airbus. This led to her taking a year as a Systems Engineering Intern with Airbus in Filton, Bristol as part of her degree.

Getting hands-on experience for aerospace engineering career 

“I didn’t have a particular interest in aerospace at that time,” she admits. “But I thought: ‘Let’s see if this is a field that I could enjoy.’ That was a good decision because I immediately loved it and realised that, yes, I absolutely wanted to be an aerospace engineer. My advice to anyone thinking of a career in STEM would be to get some work experience or get involved in STEM outreach activities or an immersion programme to see if it’s something you’d enjoy doing.” 

My advice to anyone thinking of a career in STEM would be to get some work experience or get involved in STEM outreach activities.

Inclusion and mentorship opportunities in aerospace

Following her graduation in 2021, Aysh returned to Airbus as a Systems Engineering Graduate. Alongside her technical responsibilities, she is involved with a range of extracurricular, STEM and outreach activities. She is particularly passionate about diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on empowering the next generation of female engineers.

In fact, as part of the company’s outreach activities, Aysh organises, resources, runs and participates in STEM and outreach activities for students in schools and universities with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

She is also a mentor of the EqualEngineers Pathways Programme, which helps engineering students from diverse backgrounds improve their employability skills. “As a mentor, I’m able to give advice to students about, for example, how to improve their CV, job applications and interview skills,” she says. “They get a glimpse into the engineering work they could be doing in two or three years. I really enjoy that.” 

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