Meet Ria Jackson, Programme Manager for Engineering at the College

Meet Ria Jackson, Programme Manager for Engineering at the College. Here she tells us about her engineering career and what she enjoys about working at College.

Ria Jackson

Ria Jackson

Tell us about your career?

I started my engineering career in the Royal Air Force (RAF) as an Avionic Engineer, spending 12 years working on fast jets mainly the Typhoon and I had the privilege of travelling the world. Upon leaving the RAF I was a lecturer here at the College for two years teaching Electrical, Mechanical and, Mathematical Engineering from Level 1 to 5. I then went back into industry as an Electrical and Electronic Engineer where I was lucky enough to expand my skillset and also train as a Building Services Engineer where I worked on large design projects.

I quickly found myself drawn back to the world of education working in the learning and development department for a large-scale engineering consultancy.

I was then head hunted from there and became the Training Manager for an extremely successful renewable energy company. I finally returned back to Barnsley College in December 2020 as the Programme Manager for Engineering, as my passion lies in developing the next generation of Engineers.

I have a worked hard and gained a number of qualifications throughout all of my career including a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Aircraft Engineering, HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering plus degrees in Electrical and Mathematical Engineering disciplines and a Masters in Leadership and Management.

What made you decide to pursue a career in engineering?

From an early age I realised my strengths were in both maths and science. I had a desire to join the military coming from a military family and have always loved aircrafts. Problem solving and technology have always been a passion, therefore, it seemed a natural pathway to join the RAF as an Aircraft Engineer to utilise all my skills and develop a strong career.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Engineering department at College?

It is a very challenging role; however, I love seeing people achieve their dreams and goals and what’s a more perfect environment than a college engineering department? I also enjoy passing on my knowledge and experiences.

I must say, it is the team ethos that I enjoy the most. Coming from a military background, where your team are your family I initially found it difficult to settle after leaving the RAF. However, I can honestly say I have found that team/family ethos here at Barnsley College, who share my passions and goals to see people doing well but also know how to have fun!

What advice would you give to any female students thinking of studying Engineering?

Engineering is a profession where you can enjoy the satisfaction of learning and growing in proportion to the effort you put in. No engineer, male or female, succeeds without putting in hours of studying, training, and trial and error. But as long as you’re striving to be the best in your field, and are confident of your ability, people will respect you and listen to what you have to say.

It is true, there are more men than women in engineering, and this won’t change unless more women join the field and do awesome work. It’s a demanding career for sure, but all rewarding careers are. If you dream about creating things, go for it.

In the words of Nike, JUST DO IT!

Last updated: 16th June 2021