Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft engineer working on Europe's future Martian rover, won the 2013 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award

The IET looks for female engineering role models

The IET has launched this year’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards in a bid to find role models to attract more girls to study STEM disciplines.

The launch coincides with the start of the government-backed Your Life campaign which seeks to boost female participation in science and engineering by encouraging organisations to work together.

The generally low interest of women in engineering disciplines is considered as a key point to be tackled to deal with the increasing skills shortage.

Women currently represent only 7 per cent 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.

To address the problem, 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.

“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,” said IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine. “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.”

The deadline for entry to the 2014 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is 31 July 2014.

The IET has also joined the government-organised Your Life campaign, launched today, which seeks to change the status quo and attract more teenagers, girls in particular, to study STEM disciplines and pursue careers in science and engineering.

As part of the campaign, the government will work with industry and academia to achieve the goal.

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