24-year-old Rudo Chawasarira from Selly Oak studied Level 3 Electrical and Electronic Engineering with South & City College before heading to Coventry University to study Aerospace Engineering, but her interest in engineering started much earlier than that.
Rudo’s fascination with science and maths started at a very young age and her architect dad was a big inspiration. Back when she was just five years old, her Dad would take her and her five older brothers to the local airport to watch the planes take-off and land. Having older brothers meant Rudo rarely played with traditional girls’ toys and has always much rather work with tools, take things apart to find out how they worked and put them back together again.
Even in the 21st century, not every family member was as supportive. Whilst at college studying, Rudo’s uncle would regularly tell her that studying engineering would be too hard and she wouldn’t be able to succeed. He told her that studying psychology would be better option, as "women love talking."
“When friends would ask what I was studying at college, they would expect an answer such as health and social care or something similar," explained Rudo. "There was such a look of surprise on their faces when I told them engineering.”
Rudo’s journey to achieving her passion was not a direct one. She came to South & City via another college in Birmingham. After leaving school, she enrolled at a different college to study A Levels, but due to the Maths and Science A Levels already being full, careers advisors were pushing her to study Geography, History and other social sciences. After a year of dissatisfaction and frustration as she was not on the path to fulfil her dream, Rudo came to the Longbridge campus during enrolment and spoke to Steve Grice, Head of School for Engineering.
Rudo said, “Steve asked me what I wanted to do and when I told him I was interested aerospace, being practical and hands-on, he suggested the Level 3 course. Was so impressed with what he told me about the course and the possible career path, so I signed up there and then and have not looked back since.”
Would Rudo recommend South & City College to others? "Yes, 100%," she said. She explained that not only are there a vast range of resources, the help from tutors is second to none and no one is ever too busy. The engineering department has set-up excellent extracurricular activities, such as guest speakers and linking with mentors in the area of engineering. Despite moving on from college, Rudo is still in contact with her mentor, who works for Airbus.
Once Rudo graduates next year, her dream job is to become a commercial Boeing 747 pilot, however she would be equally happy becoming a chartered engineer working on aircraft.
When asked what advice she would give her younger self, knowing what she knows now, she said: “There are always many pathways in order to achieve your dreams. Always look into all options available before even thinking about giving up. Be kind to yourself, believe that everything will be OK and most importantly believe in yourself. If I had believed friends and family, back when I younger, I wouldn’t be where I am today, which is on a pathway to my dream career in engineering. Never limit yourself.”
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