An award-winning young female engineer from the West Country is calling on her fellow female engineers to follow in her footsteps and enter a prestigious engineering award. Lucy Ackland won the 2014 Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award as part of the Institution’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards. She is today calling on her fellow young female engineers in Gloucestershire and around the UK to enter the 2015 awards which are open for entry. The awards aim to highlight to young girls that engineering is a diverse and exciting industry offering creative and challenging careers.
Lucy Ackland, a Project Manager in the Special Projects team within the Group Engineering Division of Renishaw plc in Gloucestershire, says: “Winning the WES Award was a real honour. Since my career started in 2004 I have always known the importance of encouraging more young people into the industry, especially but not exclusively, females.
“I have dedicated large portions of my time to supporting this. Winning the award has enabled me to take my story and my engineering engagement from a local to a national level, through radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and events.”
In her role, Lucy is involved in some very exciting research projects to do with both 3D printing and precision measurement.
Finding and celebrating the success of inspirational female role models is vital given that the UK currently has the lowest proportion of female engineering professionals in Europe, at 6 per cent, compared with Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus with 30 per cent. A recent survey with parents of children aged 9–12 carried out by the IET also found that only 7 per cent of parents would encourage their daughters to become engineers.
If the lack of women in engineering continues, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 1.82 million people with engineering skills that employers are projected to need from 2012–2022 (according to Engineering UK).
The 2015 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards are all about raising the profile of today’s most impressive female engineers, celebrating their successes, and encouraging them to become role models to inspire the next generation of female engineers and help address the gender imbalance in engineering and science.
IET President-elect, Naomi Climer, says: “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.”