Staff Spotlight: Women in STEM

Anna Eriksson is a Naval Architect. In her role she is responsible for ensuring that the overall design for the twelve Future Submarines is consistent and balanced. This involves bringing together the different systems of the submarine, i.e. mechanical and propulsion and making sure each system works cohesively together.

Once the build of the Future Submarines Program (FSP) commences and Anna has returned from France she will be a part of the Design Authority Team for the FSP.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy having oversight of the whole submarine and the interaction and coordination with the other people in the team. I like that my role with Naval Group has commenced at the start of the FSP as I will be able to see how the company and Program develops. I am also excited to live in France and have the opportunity to learn from highly experienced engineers.

When did you first discover that you had a passion for STEM?

I have always enjoyed maths and physics as I like problem solving. From a young age I have found it easier to maintain an interest in learning by problem solving and understanding the concepts behind things.

And more specifically how did you come to study a Masters in Naval Architecture? What drew you to this field?

My father in many ways influenced where I ended up. He encouraged me to not restrict myself to careers that have been traditionally stereotyped as “female roles,” and not to sell myself short. His encouragement, combined with my interest and passion for problem solving, physics and maths, led me to study a Masters degree in Naval Architecture.

I was also involved in Sea Cadets while I was growing up, my brother was an Officer in the Navy and my grandfather had served in the Navy. So I was exposed to the Defence industry and career opportunities within the industry throughout my childhood.

What would be your advice to young girls who are interested in pursuing a career in Engineering or STEM more broadly?

My advice is not to focus too much on being a “woman,” it is only one aspect of who you are. I believe how you see yourself is reflected in how others view you. So don’t focus too much on your gender, or try to conform to what you believe is the stereotype of an Engineer. Instead focus on the task ahead, be yourself and try to push any self-doubt aside.

My father taught me to be independent and to believe in my own capabilities, which I believe has been beneficial to me in my professional career.

What has been your top career highlight to date? 

The opportunity to be a part of the FSP from the start and move to France is a career highlight of mine. It is a unique opportunity that I am excited to be a part of and, in terms of the role, a step in my career that I have been working towards for a while. I am very happy to be given this opportunity.

Adversely, what has been a major challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?

Every reward comes with a challenge. I believe you have to expect that there are going to be challenges, it is part of your role. From my experience, when you are able to successfully overcome significant challenges it makes the project or task more rewarding.

What does it mean to you to be amongst the first six Australian Engineers to be sent to France for the Future Submarine Program? 

It means a great deal to me. To be involved in a major project like the FSP from the beginning is a great achievement and a unique opportunity. I will get to witness how the Program, in particular the design, evolves and have the opportunity to learn from Naval Group’s highly experienced French engineers. I also hope that being involved early will give me the opportunity to influence the way we work, not only from a technical perspective but also in terms of developing our workplace culture. Overall I look forward to the adventure.

 

If you want to be part of this massive undertaking and if you want to work alongside some of the brightest technical minds from both France and Australia, then you should consider becoming a part of the team who will design and build Australia’s next generation of submarines. Visit our careers pages to discover what opportunities are available.