Women in Engineering "Tatjana Basek"
According to a report conducted by Engineers Ireland in 2018 just 12% of all engineering professionals in this country are female, women very much remain an untapped resource in the sector. With a current shortage of Engineers in the market we were intrigued by this statistic and met with our very own Quality Technician Ms Tatjana Basek to discuss “Women in Engineering”.
Born in Medimurje County the northern most part of Croatia, Tatjana Basek having moved to Waterford in 2018 has now become an established member of the Keltech Quality Engineering Team.
People from Medimurje are renowned for their work ethic and Tatjana’s family are no different. “ My Dad like most local men would go work abroad for long periods of time while my mother worked in a local shoemaking company whilst caring for us. Subconsciously early in my life I think I learned the value of hard work from my parents; a trait which has served me well”
Unsure of what career path to take when she finished school Tatjana decided to enrol in an interior design course. “ I was really unsure of what to do and if im honest I followed a normal route without thinking to hard about it”. Although the course held some interest for Tatjana she quickly realised her bias was more technical based rather than artistic.
It was at this point that Tatjana displayed one of the key corner stone traits of any top engineer; conviction of purpose. “I liked interior design but as a career I knew it was not for me” Tatjana enrolled in an Engineering course in Croatia “my first impression was wow im one of the only girls here”, quickly Tatjana put that to the back of her mind and immersed herself in the programme.
Having gained her qualification Tatjana began working with a local Croatian engineering firm. Soon after however the Croatian economy really began to struggle, Tatjana and her partner Zeljko were for the first time faced with the reality that they may need to emigrate to find suitable employment. “A couple of close friends had moved to Ireland recently and seemed to love it” With the Croatian economy in deep recession Tatjana & Zeljko found themselves boarding a plane for Ireland and soon after living in Waterford city.
Another trait that Tatjana brought from her homeland was community spirit and this was to play a key role in her becoming aware of Keltech. “Back in Croatia we have a really tight knit community, everybody knows everybody and everybody helps everybody. My family have a proud tradition of being part of the local volunteer firefighting group, some of my proudest moments are assisting with flood relief and firefighting in my community” Once settled in Waterford Tatjana sought out other Croatian expats and quickly discovered that the community here was larger than expected. Some of the group mentioned to her a company called Keltech where they had found employment locally.
Keltech instantly appealed to Tatjana. Keltech supplied complex fabrications to the manufacturers of construction equipment all across Europe. “when I heard some of the top brands Keltech supply I instantly became interested, in my previous role I had visited Bauma in 2016 (world’s biggest trade fair for construction machinery) and had been amazed by the machinery I saw, the thoughts of working for a company whom supplied vital components for this equipment was exciting”.
After a successful application a few short weeks later Tatjana found herself working in the Keltech Quality Engineering team. “the first couple of weeks were scary and exciting all at the same time, there was a huge amount to learn. Keltech’s machine profile is excellent, here we can take a flat piece of sheet steel and process it right through the factory until we have a fully fitted out hydraulic tank for a dumper truck , a fuel tank for a digger or an operator cabin for a forklift; knowing where this product is going and the type of equipment it will be fitted to is such a buzz”
With increased market growth for Keltech Tatjana has found herself almost fully devoted to the quality checking of new parts. “im mostly working on new samples; carrying out FAI and dimensional reports as part of the PPAP. Tolerance allowances tend to be very tight as most of these parts will fit directly into the machine chassis, its my role to take the customer drawing and ensure that the parts we have fabricated are within customer specification.” Part of Tatjana’s initial training was on the portable CMM (Faro Arm) which is used along with other manual inspection equipment to carry out these checks.
Tatjana concludes :”So far I have loved every minute of my time as an engineer and my time working in Keltech. My advice to any girl or boy who might be reading this is to go do something you love, that’s what I did and have never looked back. I really hope in 5 or 6 years time that women in engineering is the norm and not the exception!”
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