Young female engineers: your country needs you. This is the message from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which has relaunched its 2014 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards with a renewed emphasis on finding female role models to help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis.
Women currently represent only 7% of the engineering workforce in the UK, the lowest percentage in Europe. If this trend continues, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 87,000 new engineers it is estimated the country will need each year over the next decade*. The lack of female engineering and technician role models has been identified by Government, educators, employers, parents and young girls themselves as one of the main barriers to girls opting to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and pursue a career in engineering.
The IET is calling on successful female engineers aged under 30, from any engineering discipline, to enter the Awards and demonstrate to young girls that engineering is a diverse and exciting industry offering creative and challenging careers.
Former winners and finalists of the Awards include Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft engineer currently working on Europe’s first Rover Mission to Mars, Yewande Akinola, an environmental services engineer with a passion for innovation and sustainable water supply, and Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer who worked on The Shard and recently featured as one of the models in the M&S Leading Ladies advertising campaign.
IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine, said: “We’ve been running our Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for 38 years and have produced a number of fantastic female ambassadors for engineering as a result. 2014 has seen growing momentum from Government, industry and educators to encourage more girls to study STEM subjects, so it seems timely and appropriate to make finding inspirational female role models who can support these efforts the key focus of our very successful Awards.”
YWE finalist, Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer for WSP, said: “I realised very early on in my career that female engineers are in short supply – and that there was a real need to do something about it. Being a finalist in the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards in 2012 has led to all kinds of opportunities to promote engineering to girls, from school and university visits to appearing on the BBC Politics programme and being chosen as a model for M&S. I would encourage other young female engineers to enter and join the campaign to help inspire a future generation of female engineers. My vision is to see women making up 30% of the engineering workforce over the next ten years.”
The deadline for entry to the 2014 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is 31st July 2014. Full details of the Awards are available on the website: www.theiet.org/YWE
* Engineering UK 2014, The State of Engineering
More about the IET Engineering Excellence Awards Series
In 2013, the IET provided over £1,000,000 in awards, prizes and scholarships, to celebrate excellence and innovation in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.
The IET will maintain this investment in 2014 with its portfolio of awards which includes Diamond Jubilee scholarships, Apprentice and Technician awards, scholarships in India, the Present around the World competition and the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.
For more information visit http:/www.theiet.org/awards