Landing Gear R&T Technical Leader, Airbus
Aerospace is a fascinating, fast-paced and fun career, says aeronautical engineer Sukhpreet Black. The working environment is also becoming more diverse and inclusive.
When she was young, a fascination with engineering was a way for Sukhpreet Black to bond with her father. “My dad was a civil engineer,” she says. “He’d always tell me about the interesting projects he was working on, I’d help him with DIY projects and we’d watch TV programmes about engineering together. So, I was thinking and talking about engineering from an early age.”
Growing passion for aerospace
Living near Heathrow, Sukhpreet was also fascinated by aircraft — particularly Concorde. “I was lucky enough to see Concorde taking off,” she remembers. “I found it completely mesmerising how this beautiful, elegant machine created such a rumble and was able to fly at supersonic speeds. The more I found out about aviation and aerospace, the more my passion for it grew.”
It’s no surprise to discover that Sukhpreet studied aeronautical engineering to master’s level and, after leaving university, joined the graduate scheme at aerospace engineering company Airbus. Almost 12 years later, she’s working as a Technical Leader for Landing Gear R&T and will be taking up a new role at the company in 2024.
If a company is making products and
solutions that apply to everyone,
then you need a diverse workforce.
Developing skills in a rewarding environment
“It’s such a professional environment,” she says. “People spoke to me with respect, and it felt like I belonged. Plus, I’ve had so much support throughout my career with regular training opportunities to develop my skills. Because we have suppliers, partners and customers from all around the world, there’s a big cultural benefit, too.”
It’s a constant thrill to contribute to such an important, fast-moving industry. For instance, Sukhpreet points to a component that she designed for all Airbus A350 aircraft. “It’s only a small piece, but I’m so proud of it!”
Promoting diversity and inclusion
She admits that engineering can be seen as a male-dominated environment, however, she has already seen the business become more diverse. “If a company is making products and solutions that apply to everyone, then you need a diverse workforce,” says Sukhpreet, who is site lead for an employee resource group promoting diversity and inclusion. “Airbus is always trying to understand how it can get more women into the business.”
Sukhpreet doesn’t hesitate to recommend aeronautical engineering as an exciting career. “It’s helped me become a more well-rounded person because I can apply my skills anywhere,” she says. “I genuinely wouldn’t change what I’m doing.”