Three young female engineers have been recognised at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for their innovative work in engineering. All three winners will play an ambassadorial role for the engineering and technology professions in the forthcoming months, promoting engineering careers to girls and young people.
IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Jenni Sidey (28) is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, currently working on the development of the latest low emission combustion devices for use in the transportation and energy sectors.
IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices: Gemma Dalziel (23) is an Apprentice Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco, working on network technologies and network security.
Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award: Bethan Murray (23) is a Manufacturing Systems Lead at Rolls-Royce Plc, working on the systems that aid the manufacture of the latest aircraft components.
On winning, Jenni said: “I am enormously proud to be recognised by such a progressive program promoting women in engineering within the UK. The IET has worked hard to raise awareness of the lack of diversity within the engineering profession and I hope that, through my receipt of this award and involvement in gender diversity initiatives, I can strengthen the IET’s sentiment: to reach our technological potential, the UK’s engineering workforce must be inclusive and diverse.”
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engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes.
As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find female role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Women currently represent only 9 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK (source: 2016 IET Skills Survey), the lowest percentage in Europe.
IET President Jeremy Watson CBE, said: “I’d like to congratulate the three winners and other finalists. These talented women are a real credit to the engineering profession and will help to encourage more girls to consider a career in engineering and technology.
“Engineering is an exciting and diverse career with the opportunity to change lives – and the world – so it is crucial that we get more young girls excited about the possibilities of engineering as a career.
“Our failure to attract enough women into engineering is also contributing to the national skills shortage. We need to see women accounting for far more than only 9% of engineers of the UK.”
To help inspire the next generation of female engineers and to raise awareness of these awards, the IET’s latest social media campaign #9PercentIsNotEnough has been encouraging engineers to share a picture with their hand raised to the fact that only 9% of women make up the UK’s engineering and technology workforce – and to highlight that engineering is a realistic and inspiring career for girls.