Áine Doyle is currently completing the first rotation of her graduate programme.
With STEPS Engineers Week and International Women’s Day coinciding this year, Wicklow woman Áine Doyle speaks to East Coast FM about her journey to engineering, her role in EirGrid, and inspiring female engineers.
“Engineering wasn’t an obvious choice for me. I had very little exposure to it growing up. It wasn’t until I decided to drop out of my undergraduate degree to take a gap year and to think about my next steps, that I discovered the possibilities of engineering,” says engineering graduate, Áine Doyle.
Áine moved to Blessington from Ballinteer, Co Dublin, when she was four years old, with her parents Martin and Monica.
She initially went to study Agri-Environmental Sciences at University College Dublin, but decided it wasn’t the right fit. After taking time to research other options she re-entered education, this time studying Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering at Technological University Dublin.
“Switching paths was daunting but I am so happy I did. It is never too late to make a change,” she states.
“In school I enjoyed maths and technical graphics. During my gap year I began to read about engineering, it incorporated all those elements, so I reached out to an engineering professor and spoke to him about the profession. That conversation really inspired me.”
Discovering a love of nature when she moved to Wicklow, Áine explains that her appreciation for the natural environment influenced her decision to focus on sustainable energy.
“A big factor in my parents’ decision to relocate to Wicklow was my five siblings and I being able to grow up spending time outside. To this day, I love hiking and playing football. I wanted to make sure the profession I chose would help protect Ireland’s environment in the long term.”
After learning about EirGrid, the operator and developer of the national electricity grid, during her time at college, Áine applied for the graduate programme, which she began in September 2022.
“EirGrid is at the forefront of renewable energy in Ireland. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to start my career there,” she exclaims. “The organisation is central to the Climate Action Plan and helping Ireland realise its goal of having 80% clean electricity by 2030,” she adds.
Áine is currently completing the first rotation of her graduate programme, with the Network Projects Team.
“Since starting in EirGrid, I have been working on a variety of exciting projects throughout the country. Recently most of my time is occupied by the East Meath - North Dublin Grid Upgrade. This project will help integrate increasing amounts of renewable electricity onto the grid. Some incredible female engineers are leading on the project, which is really inspiring for me,” she says.
When she isn’t busy working with the Network Projects Team, Áine engages with young people by conducting tours of the EirGrid offices. She is also speaking in schools this STEPS Engineers Week.
“As someone who wasn’t exposed to much of the engineering industry growing up, I really appreciate the opportunity to inspire the next generation of engineers. Being able to engage with young people is so rewarding and feels like a full circle moment for me.”
What words of wisdom would the engineering graduate have for young women considering a career in engineering?
“Make sure you speak with an engineer to find out more about the profession. If no engineers are visiting your school, get proactive and do some research yourself. Reach out to Engineers Ireland or encourage your school to contact EirGrid.”