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Adéline MARTIN: “My engineering career is quite atypical”

Hi! 😊

My name is Adéline MARTIN* and I’m a Risk Prevention Engineer. I’ve been working for two years now at Suez, in the waste management area. Suez is a French company which operates largely in the water and waste management sectors. It is the n°1 private water provider worldwide.

On four of the company sites, I’m in charge of:

  1. Ensuring that the safety regulations are properly applied to avoid accidents.

  2. Environment management, which is waste management. This task consists in monitoring the discharges in the air and the water on a day-to-day basis to make sure the natural environment has not deteriorated.

  3. Quality management, that is deploying the ISO management systems. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial, and commercial standards. These standards are equivalent to best practices in any type of process. For example, quality management standards would be about reducing environmental impacts, preventing waste generation and adopt a more sustainable approach.

Women aren’t that numerous on Suez’ sites. However, among the Safety, Environment and Quality sector I’m working in, we are 10 women and 18 men.

That’s me, at the bottom right with the blue hard hat! 👷🏻‍♀️

The company is now committed to hiring more women and set out 3 main objectives:

  1. 22% women executives

  2. +10% women among the overall members

  3. 50% of selected applicants in managerial positions should be women

In this field where there are mostly men, it was quite difficult at early stage of my career to be acknowledge as a female executive by 50-years-old males who may have some trouble accepting being managed by women. But it helped me grow and mature!

Horse-riding is my hobby outside work. It’s a sport I’ve been practicing since childhood that has a special place in my heart. I even bought myself my own horse as soon as I started working and earning some money! 😁 He’s 20 minutes away from my workplace and I regularly take care of him, 3 to 4 days a week. Together, we go for a walk. I also take horse-riding courses to improve my skills, once a week. I would never miss that course day for anything in the world. That day, I leave work early and make sure all the work is done the day before or is set to the next day.

I had a quite atypical career path before holding that position as a Risk Prevention Engineer: After secondary school, I first studied NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) and BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) First Diploma in equine studies. Despite that passion I have for all equine-related activities, I knew I wanted a job which would require more intellectual work, rather than manual. In the equine field, jobs are physically demanding. When I was 15, I realized that I wanted to keep my relationship with the equine sector as hobby in my life. That is why I then decided to study for a BTEC National Diploma in Agronomic and Environmental Sciences and Technologies. Once this diploma obtained, I chose to do a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Quality, Safety and Environment. And finally, I graduated from the Risk Management Institute in Bordeaux (France), with a Master’s Degree in Risk Management.

This major change in my career path was far from being easy. Bridges between technical and generalist study fields aren’t common, only a few schools in France give that opportunity. Besides, there are significant gaps between these different educational levels. I had to work hard and study for extra years to adjust my own level.

If I could give you one piece of advice, I would say: Fight against all odds to pursue your dreams! There will always be one school, one person to help you reach your goals. Even if the way is long and laborious, even though there would be “detours” on the road, if you are determined, you will succeed!

Written by Marie H.

*Alias name

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