UWE Bristol staff stories - Tamsila
Tamsila works as a Materials Engineer Technician at UWE Bristol.
What does your role involve?
"As a Materials Engineer Technician I work with metals, plastics, polymers, composites and wood. I support the technical side of testing and analysing these materials, whilst at the same time training our students in how to use the equipment and run a test for themselves. I guide them on British standards and ISO standards. Every week I run regular lab sessions and have around 300 students pass through my lab a week, leading on the technical aspects of their education."
What is your typical day like?
"An average day for me would be running a teaching lab and maintaining the equipment before and after it if it needs adjustment or fails a test. I also do my own research around what would be involved in doing some analysis or test and what is appropriate to each student and what their outcomes should be.
"My colleagues are great to work with and there’s a wide range of student projects that I get involved in. The diversity and range of things I get to do every day is fantastic. Often if you’re working in industry or on the shop floor the job can be pretty repetitive, but here it changes all the time. There’s always something to do – machines to maintain, training to do.
"The colleagues that I work with are really supportive, which was a surprise to me at first.
"When I arrived I was the only female technician and I was a bit unsure about how I’d fit into an all-male team, but they’ve been very welcoming and since I’ve been here two other women have joined so I’m not so alone!"
Tell us about your career journey
"I started engineering straight after college so I’ve always been doing engineering of some sort. I’ve had a career as a Technical Engineer and in social policy, through my voluntary work. Every few years I change to the other subject and that’s how I keep my feet in both worlds.
"I’m also proud that I came to UWE Bristol and found a community of engineers who are welcoming and inclusive whilst at the same time being skilled and knowledgeable. I get to share my skills with them and they respect my skills and knowledge. The fact that I’ve made it here is an achievement I am very proud of."
What is your passion outside of work?
"Beyond my day job, I’ve always been involved in voluntary work and social justice activism, which has reciprocally informed my paid policy work I develop. This is core to my religious-leftist beliefs and I began working on issues closest to me: race, gender and sexuality. The intersection of these particular identities led to my being awarded an MBE for contributions to Muslim communities in having established Safra Project, an organisation highlighting the human dignity and theological rights of LGBTQI+ women in Islam. I went on to work on additional issues and after witnessing the poor disabled access to many mosques, I co-founded Inclusive Mosque Initiative (IMI), a place for showcasing the huge diversity of Islamic practice across all denominations, including the conservative to the liberal and what inclusion can look like for marginalised groups and communities."