Joisbel Castro Ramirez is a Materials Welding Technologist. Her dual-focused role is divided between developing the steel and welding technology for the Future Submarine Program, and working with the Technologist Team to help source Australian suppliers for the materials for the build of the Attack class submarines.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy visiting the suppliers; it gives me an opportunity to head out of the office and breaks up the daily working routine. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about the processes that are used to manufacture the different materials our suppliers produce.
I enjoy seeing the development of different ideas, and it’s really interesting and rewarding to see brand new capabilities being developed in Australia.
How did you get to where you are today?
I’m originally from Venezuela, a country in South America. I completed a Bachelor of Engineering and then I decided to move to Australia, which was a big change and a huge challenge for me.
I then studied in Adelaide at UniSA, and completed a Masters degree in Marketing. I feel my skills lie somewhere between being an Engineer and Marketer; I enjoy the technical aspects of engineering but also enjoy stakeholder engagement.
It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today, with a lot of study and hard work. It’s also challenging living so far away from my family, but I’m really happy to now be living in Adelaide and working on such an exciting and innovative program.
What attracted you to pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and more specifically engineering?
I’ve always had an interest in chemistry and science, and engineering covers a lot of that subject matter.
In South America, Engineering is one of the most respected professions and I decided to pursue a degree that was well recognised.
What has been the most surprising thing you have found about your role and/or working at Naval Group Australia?
I’ve been very surprised (and pleased) at how respected my input and professional opinion is as an Engineer. As a female in a male dominated field, it can sometimes be intimidating but at Naval Group everyone is very open and listens to what you have to say.
I really feel a part of the team, and that my input is valued.
How has Naval Group Australia supported your professional development?
This is my first role within the Defence industry, and working on a submarine program is also something completely new to me.
Since I joined Naval Group Australia in October 2018, there has been continuous training opportunities and I have learnt about all aspects of the company and the Future Submarine Program.
As the Naval Group parent company is based in France, the opportunity to learn French is also provided. This helps us to better communicate with our tandem colleagues in France.
We’re also given lot of flexibility and the option to complete further training and study whilst working, which supports our ongoing professional development.
What would be your advice to young girls who are interested in pursuing a career in Engineering or STEM more broadly?
Don’t be discouraged about pursuing a career in a male dominated field. While it may seem challenging or difficult at times, STEM offers a very interesting and rewarding career path.
There are so many different areas you can work in within the engineering field, and so many different types of projects you can work on. The opportunities are endless.
What has been a major challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?
Overcoming the stigma of being a female working in STEM has been a challenge. but I’ve received a lot of support at Naval Group Australia, and have overcome this challenge by continuing to demonstrate my knowledge and delivering my role to a high standard.
Another challenge has been to improve my communication skills. English isn’t my first language, so I’ve been working hard to increase my English vocabulary, develop my public speaking skills and learn ways of communicating more effectively within the Naval Group Australia multicultural environment.
What has been your top career highlight to date?
There have been many. I have recently been involved in the qualification of steel for the Future Submarine Program, which I found amazing. This is the first of its kind for this type of project in Australia, and it gave me a real sense of being part of a groundbreaking achievement for the nation.