Quality Manager Rasheeda Ahmed recently sat down with us to tell us about her career to date, her love of dance, and what it’s like being a woman in engineering, ahead of International Women’s Day.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Airdrie but moved to Glasgow when I was five, so definitely consider myself a weegie. I went to the University of Glasgow to study mechanical engineering and received a scholarship to complete my Master’s degree in the same subject. This led to a graduate scheme in the defence sector, where I worked for six years before joining Krucial (formerly R3-IoT.)
Outside work, my passion is dance. I’m a part-time dance teacher and even taught dance in the USA and Canada. I was involved with Scottish Ballet until an injury at 14 and always thought I’d be a professional dancer when I was growing up. Being able to teach kids is great though – and it allows me to pursue my engineering career.
What does a typical work day look like?
It might sound like a cliché, but when I say no two days look the same, I really do mean it. I’m often first in in the morning – I’ve always been an early riser. I grab a coffee (I tend to get through around five a day, people say that’s a lot but I refuse to believe them!) and get stuck into work.
My job is split into two elements: quality assurance and quality control. While they sound similar, quality control is about finding any issues with our product and looking at ways to fix them, whereas quality assurance is a bit more strategic, planning and supporting supplier audits and looking overall at if the product meets specific requirements.
On Fridays I often work from home to catch up on all my work for the week. It’s a really flexible workplace so people are free to work in the office or at home as they prefer – for me, I love being around the team but taking a day a week at home allows me to get to what I’ve been working on in a quieter environment.
What do you enjoy about your role/Krucial?
The work is quick-paced, and when I joined there was a lot of trust placed in me which was a great feeling. On top of the responsibility I’ve been given, there’s also a big work/life balance focus at the top of the business, so I don’t ever feel overwhelmed. That cultural element is a big one for me, and not something that’s hugely common in this industry.
The opportunities to build my own personal brand have also been really helpful. I’m doing some work with Skills Development Scotland just now and everyone at Krucial has been really supportive.
How have you found being a woman in engineering, and what has that experience been like since joining Krucial?
It’s fair to say that being a woman in engineering is unfortunately still pretty uncommon. I’ve worked in places where although there’s the right idea in terms of recruitment, it’s not translated to a properly inclusive work culture – and is maybe more about tokenism than real change.
At Krucial we’ve got women in the team, both in a business sense and engineering, and some of our top leaders are women. I think the desire here to get more women into the industry is a genuine one, not just empty words.
It still surprises people at times when I say I’m an engineer. I’m a dancer, I paint my nails, I do my makeup – there’s an outdated stereotype about women that if they do those things they won’t be STEM-related jobs. But clearly, that’s nonsense – and we should be telling people so!
Quick fire questions
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time
I’m a dance teacher and love teaching kids ballet, tap, modern, you name it.
- Fav holiday destination and why
Helsinki – The Sea Fortress Suomenlinna was pretty unreal!
- If you could be anyone for a day who and why
Morgan Freeman. He’s been everything, even God! A very cool guy with an iconic voice.
- Dogs or cats
- Fav food
Any kind of pizza, as long as it doesn’t have pineapple as well as ham on it. Ham by itself is fine but never both. That’s an argument I’ve had a lot throughout my life!