Aleksandra Topolinska – Airworthiness & Certification Engineer
IF YOU START EARLY, YOU CAN TRAIN YOUR BRAIN TO DO ANYTHING
Aleksandra was raised in Poland by her Ukrainian mother and German father, moving to England in 2014 at the age of 25, having completed two Masters in Engineering.
She spoke very little English on her arrival in the UK and spent the next two and half years working in administrative roles while she taught herself the language well enough to land her first job in an engineering company.
Still that role was more administrative than she would have liked – she wanted to use her hard-earned technical skills; so when a technical role came up in the company, Aleksandra saw her opportunity and hounded the hiring manager until she landed an interview. Her persistence paid off. The manager loved her, she was given the role of Associate Engineer and never looked back.
She then moved on to be a Flammability Engineer, working on materials certification, until she saw the role at Cranfield Aerospace during the COVID lock down and applied. We also saw the potential in this remarkable young woman and are very happy to have her as part of our growing team.
IF YOU WANT TO WORK ON YOUR OWN, DON’T PICK ENGINEERING
So what interests and skills has Aleksandra found you need to be an engineer?
She observed: “I was not so brilliant at school at first, but I did like solving problems. Solving problems helps train your mind. You may find something difficult, but by doing it, it’s easier the next time. Start early to train your brain and you can do anything.” She seemed to have an affinity with maths, physics and chemistry, the latter being her favourite but would never say she found it easy. She said: “You can’t be lazy as an engineer – you have to work hard; but it’s worth it”.
It’s not all about the solitary engineer however, she pointed out: “You need to work as a team in engineering. If you want to work on your own, don’t go for engineering – you can’t solve everything on your own.”
THE BEST JOB I’VE HAD
On joining Cranfield Aerospace, Aleksandra has found the variety of the work extremely interesting and challenging, getting involved in many aspects of the certification process as in a small company, every single person has the potential to make a significant impact.
Aleksandra enthused: “The people are so friendly and helpful and I’ve been given many opportunities to develop my skills and learn new things. It’s the best job I’ve ever had!”
She’s also very excited about Project Fresson, CAeS’s ATI project to convert a nine-seat Britten-Norman Islander to hydrogen propulsion. She said: “It’s such a future-thinking project and we’re one of the first companies to be working on this – you get to learn so much more about it when you’re part of the company than you can ever learn on the internet. It will be part of aviation history and when you’re personally involved, it means that you are part of that too.”
IF YOU’RE STILL UNSURE……
From her young career so far, what advice does Aleksandra give to anyone considering engineering as a career?
“Just do it. Don’t be scared that it’s difficult – it is; but it’s worth it”.
Well, you can’t say fairer than that.