Behind the picture: Rachel performing one of her favourite pastimes, playing the violin
To honour and celebrate International Women in Engineering Day 2023, we are thrilled to share inspiring stories of Volta Trucks’ women who are part of the engineering industry.
In this blog post, you’ll meet Rachel Freeman, who shares her experiences and offers invaluable advice to those aspiring to enter this field. Read on to learn more about Rachel’s journey and the wisdom she has gained along the way:
What inspired you to pursue a career in Engineering, and how did you get started in this industry?
I started out in automotive engineering purely by chance. I was a post-grad, living and working on a campsite in France, and my best friend told me all about an automotive data management company she was working in. I was sold, and super ready to start life in the ‘real world’. I did my first excel aptitude test in a French pub with a croque monsieur…!
I got the job, moved back to the UK, and 6 years later I haven’t looked back.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Volta Trucks?
It sounds cliché but I love my team and how much I learn from them. I also enjoy how my current project spans many teams and acts as a central function for the business, connecting the dots as we move into our series production.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in engineering?
Be prepared to accept challenges and be persistent.
Be proud of what you’re doing.
Find a mentor to learn from.
Embrace new opportunities.
Understand that it’s tough, but it’s worth it.
What are some of the most exciting projects or initiatives that you’re working on now?
I am currently dedicated to a project which is ensuring successful early series production vehicles to customer handover.
Outside of my project work, I am super thrilled to be part of the “Women of Volta” group set-up, where we will be working together to put on events, network, mentor each other and develop professionally.
How do you collaborate with other members of the team in a remote and global environment?
It’s exciting to be a part of a global company, with teams spanning borders! Forums such as ‘Women of Volta’ are another great way to meet other fantastic women and allies in a non-project focussed way, connecting with like-minded people across the globe.
My own team (Strategy Operations) sets aside 2 hours each Friday for an optional ‘Team Room Feeling’: a place where we can join a call, problem-solve together, bounce ideas from one another and connect in a way that is almost as good as being in the same room.
How do you balance work with other aspects of your life?
Overall, I think Volta Trucks’ hybrid work mode is a saviour for life today. Post Covid, I think we all appreciated the flexibility and trust of our employers that we can deliver on projects just as well from home as from the office. For those with dependents or families, I think this must be ideal!
I wholly believe that work-life balance is about finding your own way to manage the demands of work with your personal life and the things that ‘top you up’. I am personally grateful to work in a team of people who never end the day without a ‘How can I support you?’ and check in to ensure no one is stuck or feeling alone in a heavy workload.
Making plans outside of work can also motivate you to be more productive throughout the workday, as you have something to look forward to! Or, setting some time in your lunch break to do something that helps relax and calm your mind (exercise, reading, cooking etc.) can also help balance the stresses of work.
Finally, what is your favourite thing to do outside of work?
I’ve recently fallen in love with running and am in training for a half marathon later this year. I love cooking (then eating), music (both playing and watching – I’m a violinist), drinking wine, travelling, hikes, board games and pubs. Any combination of the above and I’m happy!
If you would like to find out more about Volta Trucks and our mission to make cities safer and more sustainable, you can see where we are on our journey by clicking here. If you are interested in joining the team, please take a look at current openings we have available here.