Victoria Taberner

Victoria Taberner

Mechanical Engineer
Phillips 66
North East Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Victoria Taberner
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
The engineers who take the time to respond to student questions on this forum are often very busy and may not respond to some questions, particularly those that have been answered elsewhere. Please be sure to review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)

I am the only female Mechanical Engineer at Phillips 66 Humber refinery. The refinery is one of the most complicated in Europe and we produce all kinds of products from crude oil. I have worked at the refinery since graduating from Manchester University (UK) in 2007. I gained my 'Chartership' status with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 2012. I have had a number of different roles during my career and i have found them all to be interesting and challenging. I am married and have a little boy who is nearly 2. I had a year off from work to have my baby and i now juggle my family life with my career.
11 GCSEs at age 16 4 A levels (Maths, Physics, product design, general studies) at age 18 Undergraduate, Maters degree in Mechnaical Engineering from University of Manchester (formerly UMIST).
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Victoria Taberner

Hi Briana,

Its great that you have discovered what your passion is! Its difficult to recommend a specific route to your chosen career because it very much depends on what your career goals are and what your current level of education is.
Broadly speaking there are 2 general directions you can choose to follow (but many many ways to get the end result). You can go with a more 'practical' hands on route like an apprencieship or a more 'technical' route which could be getting an automotive engineering degree. Both can lead to very successful careers in engineering.
As a place to start i would ask the local colleges what courses they offer in the field(s) your interested in. Depending on your level of qualifications/experience they will let you know if you would be able to start a course. If you dont have the entry requirements they will be able to direct you to how you could achieve them. It may be that you need a top up on a few subjects or possibly a do a foundation course. 
I have found that if you are keen and proactive about making a step forward colleges/universities etc are also keen to try and make it happen for you.
Colleges know that youve got to start somewhere, nobody is expected to know things straight away and you learn the skills you need as you progress.
Good luck with it all 

Hi Will. Firstly, try not to stress, whatever happens your life and career will work out just fine and worrying won’t help you pass your exams. When one door closes another one opens. Having said that I do understand your dilemma. I had a very similar life choice during my time studying but looking back at that time I think I’m a better person and a better engineer for having had something to struggle with. There are two things you need to consider; Firstly, what is it that is making you fail your exams? Only you can answer this. Being honest to yourself is harder than it seems but there will be a reason. There is a jump in standard between GCSE and AS/A2 level, but realistically if you were getting A*/A’s at GCSE then academically you wouldn’t struggle with the AS course content and you need to believe in your own abilities and try and re-build some confidence. Having been there myself, I know it is possible to knuckle down and pull your grades up (even from 10%!!); However, the second question you need to ask yourself is, why are you following this career path? Spending more time studying is all well and good if it’s something you are sure you want, but futile if it isn’t. Engineering as a career is very different to loving it as a hobby. Its fab that you share this passion with your Dad in your free time but it’s also important for you to follow your own career choices. You don’t have to ‘give up’ your engineering hobbies if you decide you’d rather a career in something else!!
So all I can advise is to spend a bit of time thinking about whether this is what you truly want. If it is, then it’s not too late to get good results. Stop panicking about the low grades, work out a study plan and do as many past papers as possible (exam formats rarely change). If you’re not sure you want to continue down this path, you have a whole world of opportunities available to you. With your GCSE grades you can pretty much do anything you want to. And its ok to change your mind!! (now and later in your career!!).
Good luck