Tomorrow is International Women In Engineering Day (INWED), and it’s been great to see an overwhelmingly positive response from our community in the form of events and activities.
The INWED website has some fantastic ideas for organisations to improve their diversity agenda, from organising networking events to completing an equal pay audit. It isn’t too late for your company to get involved, visit the website for more ideas.
Global engineering services provider KBR, a Gold Corporate Partner with the IChemE, is already ahead of the curve. Aspire, an employee-driven resources group committed to female engineers and promoting gender parity, was launched in Houston, US in 2016. In January it was rolled-out across the pond, and Aspire UK was born.
To celebrate #INWED2017 the Aspire UK team joined with KBR’s graduate network, Impact, to host students from a local school. They attended the KBR Campus in Leatherhead today (Thursday 22 June) and inspired to take a career path in engineering.
The students were immersed in a working engineering environment and given several interactive workshop presentations about engineering, the opportunities the profession presents, and the pathways into an engineering career. They attended a networking lunch where they were able to meet with more engineers from KBR, including the business leaders.
The final activity was a team building game, where the students had to use their problem solving skills to build an Oil Rig Jacket Structure (oil platform) out of paper.
We caught up with the engineers who spoke at the event.
Design Technician, Lacy Wallace, spoke to the students on her engineering career path through the KBR apprenticeship scheme.
“Engineering, like any other field, works best with a range of people. This includes age, nationality and most importantly gender. Personally, growing up I always had an interest in breaking and fixing things, finding out how things were made, and generally what kind of wacky things I could create myself. Engineering starts broadly with creation and improvement projects which relates back to my early years.”
“I’m only 20, and having not long left full-time education I embarked on part-time higher study. I was inspired throughout my school life to become an engineer in particular, because of the range of school subjects the role incorporated. I enjoyed design work and computer programming very much but also excelled at maths and physics. STEM subjects were given a spotlight at my all girls’ school to help boost the interest in such career paths for females.”
Electrical/Project Engineer, Adeyemi Obi, gave a role-model presentation to the young aspiring students about life, career and future opportunities as a woman in engineering.
“I was actually inspired by my Applied Electricity teacher at school. And yes, she is a woman! Quite early on, I was very interested in certain subjects at school including Physics, Maths, Economics, Applied Electricity and Technical Drawing. I knew I could go down the business route with my love for economics but at the same time, I really wanted to pursue my passion for STEM subjects because I have always been curious about how things come together and work.”
“Having a female figure to talk to about it really helped. I actually remember asking my teacher how she fitted in at school / university within a clearly male-dominated setting. The simple advice I got was to follow my passion and never stop asking questions that help me to learn. I was also taught to understand that whilst I may be the only lady in the room, I must never let that deter me from achieving my goals. And so I thought – if she could, then I can too!”
Structural Engineer, Moira Brown, and Piping Engineer, Amreet Atwal, presented an inspirational talk on What is engineering? – showing the students that engineering is behind the things we do every day.
“I was inspired to become an engineer when I attended a presentation by a female engineer at my school’s career fair. This was the first time I learnt about engineering and it seemed a natural choice for me to make; I liked Maths and Physics but I wanted something more practical. I enjoy the different challenges involved in Structural Engineering and using computer software, hand calculations and sketches to work through problems. I am proud to be working in a team responsible for the design of huge structures that make a difference to people’s lives.” – Moira Brown
“I was also inspired by a female engineer who spoke at my school about her career when I was 15. I didn’t know what engineering was before then and I had no idea of the opportunities available. My aim by taking part in INWED at KBR is to promote careers in engineering with the hope of inspiring new future female engineers.” – Amreet Atwal
Find out more about KBR: https://www.kbr.com/
Are you feeling inspired?
Join us tomorrow on Twitter when we reveal the chemical engineers featured in The Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering, and reveal IChemE member responses to the question – “Why do we need female engineers?”
And don’t forget this year’s theme – #MenAsAllies. If you’re a male engineer, how are you helping to improve gender diversity, and why do you think it’s important?