The IET’s annual search to find and celebrate young female engineers has begun and entry is encouraged as the lack of women in the industry continues in the UK.
The UK currently has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe at 6 per cent, compared to Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus with 30 per cent, figures from the IET showed.
More than that, a recent survey with parents of children aged 9-12 also found that only 6 per cent think that an engineering career would be of interest to their daughter.
There are growing concerns that if engineering positions in the UK aren't filled by more women, it will significantly weaken the country’s attempts to find the 1.82 million people with engineering skills that employers are projected to need between now and 2022, according to Engineering UK.
Naomi Climer, IET President-elect, said: “Engineering is a hugely exciting and diverse career with the opportunity to do something life- or world-changing. The Young Women Engineer of the Year awards, which have been running for 39 years, are all about finding role models to get girls – and young people in general – excited about the possibilities of an engineering career.”
Former winners of the awards include Naomi Mitchison, a senior hardware engineer at Selex ES, Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft engineer currently working on Europe’s first Rover Mission to Mars and Yewande Akinola, an environmental services engineer with a passion for innovation and sustainable water supply.
Naomi Mitchison said: “I chose engineering because having done Maths and Physics at school it seemed like an interesting way to put those subjects to good use, while doing something a bit unusual and different.
“The great thing about winning the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year award was that it made me realise that the work I do promoting engineering gives me the opportunity to be a role model. I don’t think you wake up one day and decide to be a role model, you just realise that standing up and speaking in front of student, parents and teachers means you are seen as such, and that’s an important realisation.”
The deadline for entry to the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards is 30 June 2015. To find out more about how to register, go here.