What does it take to be an engineer: Molly Bell

What does it take to be an engineer: Molly Bell

As we aim to inspire North East children about careers in STEM, with the help of STEM Ambassadors, we lift the curtain to explore what a job in engineering actually means, what it involved and the path youngster need to undertake if they want to become engineers too.

Meet Molly Bell, Assistant Technical Plant Engineer at SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK

What sort of things do you do every day?

The first thing I do on a morning is read reports on how well the sites have performed in the last 24 hours. If I see a problem that’s happening a lot I’ll contact the site to offer some help in solving it. After this I’ll catch up on emails and get cracking with some project work. This sometimes means sitting at my desk for a couple of hours doing some calculations or heading out onto site to check some equipment or trace a process. A big project for me at the moment is an energy efficiency study into all of our UK sites to see how well we use electricity and if we can reduce the amount we use.  My job also involves a lot of volunteering so some days I’ll be at a school running an educational session or doing some charity work like clearing the local area of rubbish and litter.


Do you wear a lab coat? If not what do you wear?

When I’m at my desk I just wear jeans, trainers and a SUEZ polo shirt but when I head out onto site, I wear a bright orange trousers and jacket combo. with boots, glasses, gloves and a hard hat - safety first!


What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favourite thing about my job is having the chance to work with a wide range of people from different disciplines and backgrounds. This allows me to learn something new - whoever I speak to!


What subjects would I have to take in school to do your job?

At University I studied Chemical Engineering. For this I needed to study Maths and either Chemistry or Physics at A-Level. I did Maths, Chemistry, Biology and French. The entry requirements to study this course is AAB. However, there are lots of other engineering courses which you can study either at university or as an apprenticeship!


Do you use all of the STEM subject in your job?

Absolutely! I’m often using GCSE subject knowledge to help me understand the basics of a piece of plant equipment or a process. For example, understanding the periodic table and how acids react with alkalis is important in the understanding of our water cleaning plant or flue gas treatment process.


What was your favorite subject in school?

At school I really loved Maths because there is always a correct answer! I also enjoyed French as it’s a really beautiful language. Fortunately studying French paid off as I now work for a French company.


What was you dream job when you were 10?

When I was 10 I dreamed of being a documentary presenter, like David Attenborough. It’s something I still think about doing, especially with my background in science!