Ella Podmore

Three young women engineers have been recognised at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (@TheIET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for their work in engineering.

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Ella Podmore (25), is a Materials Engineer for luxury British supercar maker McLaren Automotive. Ella is responsible for all the material investigations in the business across the development phases of the company’s supercars; from concept drawings, all the way to customers in the field. Balancing her time between experiments and leading technical meetings, Ella created this department from the ground-up and plans to demonstrate the importance of materials in the automotive industry even further.

IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices: Denize Ivy Pilatra (21), is an Apprentice Non-Destructive Examination Engineering Technician at BAE Systems Submarines. Denize is responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of submarines, working alongside technicians confirming critical components are free from unwanted defects. As a passionate STEM ambassador, Denize supports many educational events and has been awarded for her dedication to continuously improve and actively promote the endless possibilities within STEM to young girls.

Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize: Shrouk El-Attar (28), is an Electronic Engineer at Elvie. Shrouk engineers smart tech that improves the lives of cis women and trans men, whilst breaking down barriers and smashing taboos. Shrouk has been a STEM Ambassador since 2011, teaching children about engineering solutions and most recently headed up a project, teaching maths to children of refugees.  

On winning, Ella said: “I am absolutely honoured to have been chosen by the IET and the judges to be this year’s winner. Those who know and work with me recognise how passionate I am about my science and being able to talk about that and the amazing supercars I get to work on at McLaren. I want to encourage the next generation of engineers and scientists to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Finalists Bethany Probert, Melanie Jimenez and Neera Kukadia were all highly commended. All winners and finalists will play an ambassadorial role for the engineering and technology professions in the forthcoming months, promoting engineering careers to girls and young people.

Now in its second year, the Gender Diversity Ambassador Award, which recognises an individual’s hard work in achieving gender equality within the engineering industry, was awarded to Pam Wilson. The award aims to showcase innovation and good practice to compliment the YWE Awards, by recognising the support and encouragement of women in STEM careers.

Pam is passionate that engineering is seen as a rewarding and enjoyable career and she supports the promotion of STEM whenever she can. She actively mentors within her own company and externally and sees key skills for all future engineers to be problem solving, knowledge sharing, balancing risks, process improvement and a continuous desire to learn and evolve in what is an ever-changing environment.

These prestigious engineering industry awards celebrate women working in modern engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and dirty overalls.

As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Just 12% of those working in engineering and technical occupations are women (source: Engineering UK).

Jo Foster, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the IET, said:

“I’d like to congratulate our fantastic winners and highly commended recipients of this year’s awards. They are inspirational and a real credit to the engineering profession and will play a huge part in altering the perception of what a career in engineering and technology can look like.

“It’s vital that we champion engineering careers to the next generation – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to do something life – or even – world-changing.”

The winners were announced at the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year virtual awards ceremony on 4 March.

British Astronaut, Tim Peake made a surprise appearance at the end of the ceremony with a video message congratulating the winners and finalists and talking about the importance of the awards.

The YWE Awards are sponsored by BAE Systems, Boeing, BP, Collins Aerospace, Frazer-Nash, GCHQ, Leonardo UK, MBDA, Ofcom, Royal Air Force, Royal Mail, Teledyne e2v, Thales and Wiley.

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