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“Working in the workshop was extremely informative”

Renate Schärz has been working as a project manager in the Vehicles and Power Supply specialist department for more than six years. In this interview, she explains how she became an engineer and which special skills are required in the procurement of defence equipment.

HR Management, Irene Amacker

Brief profile

Portrait of Renate Schärz

Renate Schärz is project leader in the Vehicles and Power Supply specialist department.

Women at armasuisse

Last name

First name

Highest academic qualification

Joined armasuisse in

Working in current function since



BSc in Automotive Technology

August 2014

August 2014

Renate Schärz poses in front of a tractor.
Renate Schärz poses in front of a tractor.

Ms Schärz, what motivated you to become an engineer?

After I completed the school leaving examination, I had simply had enough of the academic world and theoretical knowledge. I wanted to get my hands dirty at work, create something and at the same time understand how things work. For this reason, I decided to pursue an apprenticeship as an auto electrician/electrician. Working in the workshop was extremely informative and demanding, but it was also a lot of fun. Even so, I realised that I wanted to attend a further education course to delve deeper into the basic principles of mechanics, electrical systems and automotive engineering.

As a child and teenager, were you given special support in maths, IT, natural sciences and technology (MINT subjects)?

Not directly. I grew up with three sisters and remember that I played with dolls as well as with Lego and remote-control cars. As no-one in my family worked in engineering or in a technological field, I was never encouraged to pursue an education in this direction. As a result, I was unsure of which career path to take for a long time.

Renate Schärz poses with a connecting plate in front of a tractor.
Renate Schärz poses with a connecting plate in front of a tractor.

As a woman, what do you need to do to fit in in a male-dominated area such as defence equipment procurement?

I think that it is important that you be yourself and do not pretend to be someone that you are not. It also helps to be able to express your own opinions and defend them, where necessary.

How many women do you work together with and what do you think about mixed teams?

There are very few women working in the field of technology; however, as projects always feature some commercial aspects, there are often women working in the project teams. It is not important to me whether I work with men or women. What I do find important is team spirit and that we are constructively working towards a shared goal.

Renate Schärz shows a tractor engine.
Renate Schärz shows a tractor engine.

What advice would you like to give to other women in terms of their careers?

I have come to know many women who worry an unbelievable amount and constantly question their own actions. I recognise these actions in my own behaviour. Being self-critical is a good thing, however some people can also take it too far. For this reason, I would like women to try more things out and have the courage to just get a job done, even if it is not perhaps perfect.