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IET celebrates young women engineers smashing stereotypes

IET celebrates young women engineers smashing stereotypes

 November 13, 2019

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Young women are breaking boundaries and smashing stereotypes in the engineering sector every day - and the exciting Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) are a great way to celebrate their achievements.

The IET recognises talented young women engineers, and The YWE Awards is one of the many prestigious accolades and programmes run by the IET on an annual basis.

Where Women Work features the 2019 YWE winner and finalists.

Ying Wan Loh (YWE Winner) seeks to challenge engineering stereotypes

Ying is a Manufacturing Team Leader, who completed an MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management at the University of Cambridge. She aspires to combine her passion for arts and engineering to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers.

“I want to raise the profile of female engineers in the manufacturing industry. I hope to challenge the stereotype of what an engineer looks like and raise awareness of what we do. I believe there is tremendous amount of value that a diverse workforce can bring to the manufacturing industry," said Ying.

“The YWE Award creates a credible and important platform for female engineers to have their voices heard and start to challenge the outdated stereotype of what it is to be an engineer.”

Amber O’Connor is passionate about inspiring young people

While studying for her GCSEs, Amber explored possible career options in engineering based upon her skill-set – liking maths, science and problem solving. She is now an Equipment Health Monitoring and Performance Engineer as well as an Engineering Programme Manager.

“I’m incredibly passionate about encouraging the next generation and breaking the stereotype of engineering; it’s not just a 'dirty job' that’s suitable for only men. The YWE award is a great platform to be able to reach more young people and get them involved in STEM activities, as well as giving them an awareness of what true engineering roles are and the diversity of the industry," Amber commented.

“It’s unfortunate that there are very few women in engineering, but my aim is to make an impact and get more young women to see that engineering is a great career option that could be well suited to them.”

Charlotte Buffey believes in self motivation

Charlotte chose to pursue a career in engineering due to having a keen interest in technology, maths and physics at school. She is undergoing an Aerospace Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship.

“I entered YWE because I wanted to see how I compared to other women in the industry as a motivator for myself; throughout the process so far, I have met inspirational woman engineers," said Charlotte.

“Awards, like YWE, celebrate the achievements to a wider audience which can lead to inspiring the younger generation and creating role models. With the minority being women in STEM, I feel it is important to constantly raise awareness in order to change the statistic, so that's why awards that showcase this are really imperative.”

Dr Claire Lucas makes a difference through teaching

Claire always enjoyed maths but was never interested in hands-on engineering and fabrication. She was delighted when she discovered a different type of engineering which was about modelling, understanding and solving problems. Claire is now Director of Studies for Systems and Information Engineering for a respected university.

“I entered YWE so that I could talk about what I do and how we can make a difference to the way that engineering is taught and spoken about. There are so many types of engineers doing amazing things in areas people probably don’t even imagine, and by capturing these stories, we can show the difference engineering makes to our lives," Claire noted.

“I want to encourage those, who want children in the future, that it is possible to be an engineer alongside caring responsibilities; I have taken two periods of maternity leave in the past five years and managed to progress in my career. I would like to increase the number of visible role models balancing working alongside raising children.”

Samantha Magowan supports diversity

Samantha chose to pursue engineering as an opportunity after completing her A-levels in Maths and Physics and realising that university wasn’t for her. She went on to complete a rotational engineering apprenticeship with great success.

“I entered the IET YWE awards as the IET are the recognised body for my industry, meaning I would be judged by industry peers, who understood everything I had achieved, and against other women in the same area," said Samantha.

“I believe the awards are really important in promoting the work of normal everyday female engineers, who don’t always get the recognition. This helps create new role models for young girls who would never have considered engineering as a feasible career in the past. I think it’s also important to promote the work that goes on to support diversity nationally, but also on a local scale, showing some of the work achieved by engineers in the Scarborough area, demonstrating to local young people what they can achieve.”

Shrouk El-Attar is an inspiration for refugees

One of Shrouk’s earliest memories was realising that people on television were not tiny people living inside it. To her, electronics were magic and she dreamed about working in technology. As a teenager, Shrouk was not allowed to study Engineering at university due to being an asylum seeker. She didn't let this stop her and now designs electronic circuits for robotic machines.

“I entered YWE because I want to honour every little refugee girl who was told that she can't be a mathematician, scientist, or an engineer because she escaped war, conflict, and persecution. I want her to know that it will be a tough journey, but once you're out the other side, you'll power on through. I want to show her that she absolutely can do it!" Shrouk commented.

“Awards like YWE are incredibly important because they show the world the true diversity of engineers and tell young people that there is no right or wrong way to 'look like an engineer'. 

Discover more about the IET

The IET is committed to celebrating engineering and the work of women in the sector.

Learn more about the institution and its awards.


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