Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, Yasmin Wilks, Engineering and Sustainability Graduate, explains more about her role at Gist.


“I knew I wanted to go into engineering before university as I excelled more in mathematics and the sciences. I looked to find courses that interested me and where I felt I could then use that knowledge to make a difference in the world.


“It was during Covid that I was searching for roles and the opportunity at Gist came up. I wanted to join a business where I could use my core engineering knowledge and skills day-to-day and where I would be challenged. I was looking for an engineering role which would see me doing different things and where I had some freedom to learn and explore at a company that could help me develop. I have a passion for sustainability and I spoke about it during my interview process. This is now the key large focus area of my role at Gist.


“Within my role I get the opportunity to work with colleagues across the whole business and bring them together in a structured way for one worthwhile cause. I studied bioengineering at the University of Sheffield and I am developing my knowledge in a sector completely new to me.


“We’ve never had my role at Gist before or sustainability as a core business focus so it has allowed me to develop myself into the role in the best way that works for me and for succeeding in our business objectives. The people at Gist are also so great and make it an inviting and happy place to work.


“Within the sustainability remit I have been applying my engineering background using data analysis, for example when calculating our GHG emissions. I have loved retaining that aspect and applying what I have learnt from my studies. Our vehicles are Gist’s biggest carbon emitters and although I sit within the sustainability team and not engineering team, I couldn’t carry out this role without an engineering background because I need that understanding.


“I’ve learnt a lot about how a large business operates, such as reporting and governance structure, which I’ve had a lot of exposure to, especially when setting up and managing our programme with work streams and projects. I’ve also learnt more about HGVs and refrigerated trailers, alternative fuels and technology for decarbonising the supply chain than I ever thought I would.


“As an individual I have learnt, and am still learning, to be more confident, particularly when communicating ideas in meetings and learning how to get the most out of people. I feel I have also developed my creativity skills when looking at messaging and communication on sustainability to Gist colleagues.


“My highlights from the last six months include conducting interviews and hiring a Sustainability Industrial Placement; running trials to explore ways to reduce carbon emissions in our fleet; attending national logistics events and forums and publishing our 2021 Sustainability Report.


“I still think there are too few women in engineering. My course had the most women of all engineering disciplines at the University of Sheffield, but the men still outweighed the number of women. During my second year at university I spent time studying in the United States and the percentage of men on my course there was even greater. I really hope more women choose to work in engineering and that they are given the opportunity to work upwards within companies. During university I took part in STEM mentoring at local secondary schools in Sheffield and it’s something I’m keen to continue, to help engage young people, particularly young women, in engineering.


“Career wise I’m still finding my feet and I am keen to continue using my engineering skills within sustainability. I have lots more to learn about our trucks and the nitty-gritty detail and gain a better understanding of how diesel alternatives work. I also want to develop my management skills but retain my current focus on sustainability.”