It’s that time of year again, where we celebrate female engineers on International Women in Engineering Day (INWED). Centred around the theme of amazing women engineers and the heroic work they undertake, not just in response to the global pandemic, but also the support they provide people to help improve livelihoods every day.
SPIE UK Celebrates International Women in Engineering Day
At SPIE, we not only recognise the importance of having a diverse workforce to ensure the ongoing success of the business, but also the valuable role female engineers play in an industry well known for being male dominated. Engineering and the skills associated with this vital sector provides opportunities for everyone no matter the gender, but with only around 12% of females forming part of the UK industry’s workforce, there is no doubt that more needs to be done to attract and retain women in order to help increase gender-parity and also reduce the ever-expanding skills gap.
Globally there is a rich heritage of iconic female inventors from Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, well-known for her collaboration with Charles Babbage’s general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine; Alice H Parker, an African-American pioneer, renowned for her patented natural gas central heating system that led to the modern domestic central heating that we have in our homes today, to Josephine Cochrane, who invented the first economically viable automatic dishwasher.
These remarkable and inspirational women are an example of how an idea can become revolutionary and result in inventions that we couldn’t live without today.
As a key player in an industry that depends on innovation, SPIE is focused not only on providing our employees with the right opportunities to reach their full potential, but also to fundamentally feel a part of the wider solution.
In honour of INWED, we asked two female professional trainees why they wanted to work in engineering and for SPIE UK:
Laura Inglis, Professional Trainee Quantity Surveyor (QS), said: “I joined SPIE as a Commercial Assistant in 2017 with the hope to train as a Quantity Surveyor. A year later, I was given the opportunity to study a BCS (Hons) Quantity Surveyor degree, which I have just completed. Now, as a QS Professional Trainee, I can apply my newfound skills and continue to learn in a job I love. Furthermore, as systems and technology develop, I look forward to upskilling to adapt to any changes in QS practice and being a part of the future of engineering.”
Olivia Long, Professional Trainee in Engineering, added: “When I first joined SPIE 4 years ago, I was unsure on which direction I wanted to go. However, going to York College part time enabled me to gain an appreciation and huge interest in engineering; this is when I decided to start my Level 3 apprenticeship in Building Services. I first decided to go into the engineering sector because I wanted to make a difference, I wanted a job which would give me not only great job satisfaction, but purpose. That is why I think it is important to encourage women into the industry; it is a truly challenging but rewarding sector to work in and I think this needs to be shown from a young age. SPIE gave me the opportunity to become a design engineer and have supported me from the start. Firstly, placing me on the Level 3 Building Services Engineering Course to now where I am working towards my HND.”
Engineering will play a significant role in solving the greatest challenge the world now faces, the fight against climate change. Only through a diverse workforce will we have the skills and insights to rise to the occasion and mitigate the growing impacts of global warming for today and tomorrow’s generations.
Find out more about International Women in Engineering Day at https://www.inwed.org.uk/