From education to employment

Engineering leaders seek new ways to boost the number of women in the sector

On 23 June 2017, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), founded by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), celebrated the achievements of women in engineering and inspired younger generations.
Women make up less than 10% of the engineering sector in the UK. With a large skills gap looming and the additional need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering.
Set up in 2014 by WES to celebrate its 95th birthday, this national, and now international, awareness day focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities in engineering and technical roles, including for girls and young women, and celebrates the achievements of women engineers and technologists.
Working in partnership with many of the engineering world’s globally recognised names, WES itself will be celebrating the day with events in London. UK-based engineering and innovation company Colas Ltd, one of the sponsors of INWED in 2017, has worked with WES to hold a Breakfast Roundtable at the House of Commons, hosted by Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh. Participants will include Allan Cook (Chair, Atkins), Benita Mehra (WES President) and Caroline Gumble (Chief Operating Officer, EEF).
This invitation-only panel will seek to explore key ways forward in an international context and highlight issues related to women in engineering. It will explore one of INWED’s key themes in 2017, ‘men as allies’, for, as Caroline Gumble explains: “Without male decision makers as allies, women will continue to be unrepresented in the engineering sector at all levels.”
Lee Rushbrooke, CEO, Colas Ltd, commented: “Colas is a proud sponsor of International Women in Engineering Day 2017, promoting, rewarding careers and opportunities in engineering for women. Colas is committed to supporting greater diversity within the sector and actively encourages women in engineering.”
Benita Mehra, President of WES, remarked: “WES exists to provide a voice to women in engineering. We need to find more and better ways to increase the number of women taking a full part in engineering and allied sectors with actions from employers, educators and policymakers. I am very much looking forward to sharing this INWED Roundtable with such eminent and influential colleagues.”
Top 50 Women in Engineering Under 35 list announced on International Women in Engineering Day, 23 June 2017
The list of the top 50 Women in Engineering Under 35 (WE50) will be published in the Daily Telegraph on 23 June 2017 to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day (INWED).
The list, compiled by the Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), will feature the UK’s top rising female stars of engineering chosen from more than 500 nominations.
Kirsten Bodley, Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the organisation that founded International Women in Engineering Day, commented: “We had a very high response to the campaign this year and were hugely impressed with the entries. This list of inspirational younger women shows the breadth and depth of talent and innovation across all engineering sectors. It is a great way of encouraging the next generation to enter the engineering and allied sectors and for women to succeed there.”
The candidates on the WE50 list represent the broad range of engineering roles available including those from the traditional built environment, energy, aerospace and transport sectors, but also including names from academia as well as authors and outstanding students and apprentices.
WE50 is one of the key events being held on INWED2017. Hundreds of other exciting INWED events will be taking place on 23 June 2017 in the UK and across the world, from Canada and the USA to Spain, Brazil and Peru. They range from talks, tours, open days and debates to competitions, networking events, site visits, videos and campaigns.
About WE50: Brief biographies of some of the 50 engineers on the list were printed in the Telegraph on 23 June and accompanied by a celebratory afternoon tea taking place at One Great George Street, London, to which all the WE50 and other influential figures within engineering have been invited. Following this, the Telegraph hosted an evening awards dinner celebration for the Top 50 award winners and the sponsors of the initiative at the Banking Hall in the City of London.
Many prominent public- and private-sector organisations are sponsoring INWED this year, demonstrating their commitment to diversity within all sectors of engineering. They include leading educational institutions such as Cranfield University and Nottingham Trent University; professional institutions, training providers and membership organisations including Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), Engineers Ireland, the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM), the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).
Public sector support comes from London’s fire and rescue service the London Fire Brigade; with private-sector sponsors including Boeing, ChapmanBDSP, Cirrus Logic, Colas Ltd, QinetiQ, SSE and Wiley.

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