creative engineer, architect featured

"Engineers aren't creative" and other misconceptions

creative engineer, architect

Article provided by Alison Horton, principal engineer at built environment consultancy Curtins’ Birmingham office.

I think there are still a lot of misconceptions about the engineering industry today.

These are definitely tied to it being a male dominated industry. I think many people still see engineering as a dirty, noisy industry, and a ‘geeky’ one at that.

One problem in the UK is that the title of ‘engineer’ is not protected. In other countries – like Germany – only people who hold certain qualifications can call themselves an engineer. However here, anyone can call themselves an engineer. This means that many jobs that would be called ‘mechanic’ or ‘technician’ elsewhere, become classified as an engineer – further feeding confusion over what an engineer is and does. For example, someone who comes to repair your boiler may quite happily refer to themselves as an engineer, but the main differentiation is that he fixes the boiler, he hasn’t designed the system. Engineers are the designers.

Once you understand that engineers are designers, you can begin to see why creativity is such an essential element of what we do. Engineering is one hundred per cent a creative industry and we are designers in every sense of the word. People don’t realise that a lot of us spend our time in an office in front of a computer – and part of this is using the latest and most exciting technology available to make the buildings and infrastructure you see and use every day possible. If engineers weren’t creative, buildings that are both functional and beautiful would never come to life and we would never be able to solve the problems that inevitably arise when designing new infrastructure.

Some of the best all-round engineers I know have an aptitude for creativity, with an artistic eye and a love for architecture just as much as structure. Engineers explore ideas, create models, produce sketches and work iteratively, constantly adapting and working as a team. The industry is embracing the most cutting-edge technology as part of this, allowing creativity to thrive. Our designs can now be expressed through virtual and augmented reality, producing better – and these days more sustainable – buildings, for a brighter future.

For more information, please visit

About the author

Alison Horton is a senior engineer at the Birmingham office of built environment consultancy, Curtins.

Horton is also a STEM ambassador and is passionate about encouraging more people - both male and female - into STEM related jobs.

encouraging girls in to tech, STEM featured

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

encouraging girls in to tech, STEM

Article provided by Alison Horton, principal engineer at built environment consultancy Curtins’ Birmingham office and STEM ambassador.

Inspiring the next generation of engineers will simply come from inspiring the next generation when it comes to career options as a whole.

Children – both girls and boys – need to be better educated on career possibilities and from an earlier age than they are at the moment.

That’s why I’m a STEM ambassador. Of course, we want more girls to be inspired to go into engineering as it is still very much male-dominated, but what we need is the next generation as a whole to be excited, enthused and passionate about their chosen career.

Many schools, teachers and parents are not able to highlight everything that every possible industry has to offer, so it’s important for representatives from all industries to step forward and do just that. From this greater knowledge, students can identify and follow their passions from a younger age to make a more informed choice on what is right for them.

I spend a lot of time encouraging other staff to get involved and giving talks to our other offices as part of a company initiative to promote the fantastic work of STEM ambassadors.

It’s easy to get involved as a STEM ambassador through a simple online application and induction. You only have to get involved with one activity a year, so you can flex your involvement based on how much time you have to spare. I applied when I started full-time work after graduation, having spent my university days helping at open days and being involved in the Women in Engineering society. Since applying, I haven’t stopped!

One particularly memorable activity was den building with students in the Lickey Hills. The students had to build dens using only a tarpaulin and whatever they could find in the woods. After an hour they had to get into their den whilst we threw water to test how waterproof their creations were. That and many of the events I get involved with through the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) are really engaging and hands on, and sometimes involve dressing up as a superhero.

It’s one of the most rewarding things about my career – realising that I could be a young person’s role model was an incredible feeling. I can’t recommend getting involved highly enough – the more we support our next generation now, the better the future of all our industries will be.

For more information, please visit

About the author

Alison Horton is a senior engineer at the Birmingham office of built environment consultancy, Curtins.

Horton is also a STEM ambassador and is passionate about encouraging more people - both male and female - into STEM related jobs.

Government calls on more women in engineering, highlighting them as 'an absolute necessity'

The government has called for more women to think about a career in engineering, highlighting them as 'an absolute necessity' for the future of transport.

Women currently represent just 12 per cent of the engineering workforce and 18 per cent of the transport sector workforce. Hiring more women is essential for the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects like HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

It is estimated that by 2033 there will be a combined shortfall of around 341,000 jobs in the sector.

The call follows the convening of a roundtable on women in transport this week by the Department for Transport’s Permanent Secretary Bernadette Kelly, attended by senior female leaders in the sector. Representatives from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford, Heathrow Airport, Network Rail, the Women in Maritime Taskforce, and Virgin Atlantic were present.

Key points of discussion included unconscious bias, challenging perceptions, and parent policies.

To coincide with International Women in Engineering Day today, the government is also celebrating the success of the Year of Engineering campaign in increasing the awareness of opportunities in engineering. The campaign delivered an estimated 5.1 million experiences of engineering for young people in 2018 – far exceeding the one million target.

Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, Bernadette Kelly said, "We want to challenge traditional perceptions of engineering to ensure our transport industry has the skills it needs for the future."

"This isn't just the right thing to do, it's necessary for engineering and transport to thrive."

"We simply need more engineers and people in the industry as investment grows."

"Currently, we're not making use of a huge section of society and that can't continue."

"Building on progress and productive conversations with industry, I hope to help women across the country and of all ages see there are amazing careers in transport - from building site to boardroom."

HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani added, "In this country, we build roads, rail track, we expand airports, and we need engineers from all corners of the country to help us deliver our ambitions."

"Engineers are also at the heart of developing greener and more accesible transport, using innovation to design a better world that works for everyone."

"The engineering and transport worlds have been male for too long."

"A more diverse workforce will not only mean more opportunties for women, but will help the industry reach its potential."

WE50 awards featured

WES announces UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering 2019

WE50 Awards

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day 2019, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) has announced the winners of the Top 50 Women in Engineering: Current and Former Apprentices (WE50).

Now in its fourth year, the WE50 continues to showcase the extensive female talent across the sector, this year focusing on women currently serving as apprentices or those who have previously undertaken an apprenticeship.

The 2019 awards attracted a large number of high-quality nominations from a broad range of industries. The 50 winners and ‘highly commended’ nominees came from many different sectors including professional services, pharmaceutical, aerospace, facilities management and automotive.

Speaking about the awards, Dawn Childs, WES President said, “Since the inception of the Top 50 Women in Engineering list in 2016, WES has been privileged to be able to identify, and thus help showcase, some amazing women in engineering."

"Every year a different focus is chosen to ensure that we can shine a light on female engineers at different stages of their career and who have come to engineering through many different paths."

"Apprenticeships remain one of the key routes for technical education and subsequently, to qualifying as an engineer."

"Consequently, we have looked at current and former apprentices in the WE50 list this year."

"The breadth and depth of roles and industries covered by the entries was simply breathtaking and the achievements of the individual entrants were stunning – we have definitely found another truly inspirational list of female engineers!”

The WE50 were judged by a panel of industry experts and head judge, Dawn Fitt, commented, “As a former Engineering Technician Apprentice it has been a pleasure to see first-hand the fantastic achievements of both current and former apprentices."

"This is particularly heartening given the push to increase the number of apprenticeships within the UK."

"I believe that this year’s list showcases the career opportunities for any woman wanting to pursue an engineering apprenticeship.”

The WE50 awards take place each year to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June, a day endorsed by UNESCO patronage since 2016. INWED celebrates the achievements of women in engineering and related roles and highlights the opportunities available to engineers of the future. This year INWED takes place on WES’ centenary, 100 years on from the day the society was founded.

The 2019 WE50 winners have been published in a Guardian newspaper supplement today, Monday 24 June 2019. The awards will be presented at the WES Afternoon Tea event at the Royal Academy of Engineering on the afternoon of 24 June. A full list of the WE50 winners is available at


A guide to: Women in engineering


The UK still has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, standing at fewer than ten per cent, according to the Women’s Engineering Society.

The lack of women in engineering, and STEM as a whole, has long been under the microscope facing criticism in a world where gender equality is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

But why is there a lack of women in engineering?

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recently drew attention to the dire figure that only nine per cent of the engineering industry is made up of female workers.

There are number of reasons thrown around as to why there is such a low representation of women in engineering; such as gender stereotyping, a university to work gap, and the industry not engaging women.

New research recently released by totaljobs also found that women in science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) can typically expect to be paid over £7,000 less than men.

The survey also revealed that many women in STEM have a lack of confidence when it came to talking about money. Of the 1,450 STEM professionals surveyed, 65 per cent of women admitted they don’t feel comfortable asking for a pay rise, compared to 51 per cent of men.

Another study discovered that female engineers are leaving the field because they are not taken seriously. The research found that unchallenging projects, blatant sexual harassment and greater isolation from support networks contribute to women’s exit from engineering.

Fabiana MorenoFabiana Moreno is a graduate engineer working in Strategic Intelligence – Marketing at Schneider Electric.

Here she explains why Schneider Electric is a great option for women considering a career in engineering:

What is your role at Schneider Electric?

I am currently gearing towards the end of the graduate programme; which has consisted in three different placements across different business units. I have been with the Field Services team, Power Solutions and I am currently supporting the Marketing services team. The programme has been a great learning experience; because it’s so varied you are constantly challenged but also rewarded along the way. On my first placement I was onsite with the field engineers and the following placement I was in the office discussing big bids with bidding engineers.

How would you describe your career journey?

The graduate scheme has offered me constant learning and many development opportunities, but one of the highlights for me was to be able to participate in my group project showing the total cost of ownership of our solutions to our customers in the UK, which has now had interest from the US to be rolled globally.

What does you enjoy about your role and why’s it a great fit?

The programme has had a great mix of technical and commercial roles across different areas of the organisation. For me, it was important to have the opportunity to work and explore different business units to get a flavour of the business not only I have been able to develop my technical skills but also commercially.

What I enjoyed the most about the programme was on how many things I got involved. I have had the opportunity to support my manager strategizing about our top customers at Field Services, supported the engineers in the field, prepared bids for big projects, have provided intelligence information about our competitors and different industries to senior peers.

What advice does you have for women and graduate engineers?

Engineering is a great career, where you can push yourself and others to solve today’s problems. There is a pre-conception that engineering is not a career for women and this couldn’t be further from the truth. More women nowadays are studying STEM subjects to go into engineering. A career that offers so many opportunities.

In an attempt to raise awareness of these issues, WISE have recently joined forces with HRH The Princess Royal to launch a campaign tackling the lack of women in science, technology, maths and engineering.

Speaking about the initiative, co-chair Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, senior pro-vice-chancellor of research and innovation at Swansea University, said, “We have a ‘leaky pipeline’ when it comes to women and academic careers.”

“More girls than boys are studying science at degree level but this huge pool of talent is ‘leaking away’ as men’s and women’s careers progress.”

So how do we block the ‘leaky pipeline’ and encourage more women into STEM subjects?

There are currently a number of initiatives that aim to promote women in engineering and encourage more young people to take up STEM.

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) plays a large part in promoting female representation within the sector. In June 2016, together with the Telegraph, they released the first Top 50 Women in Engineering list, highlighting the top influential women in engineering.

Alongside WES, there are number of other networks who support and promote women in the field, including WISE Network, IEEE, InterEngineering and Women in Building Services Engineering (WiBSE).

A number of awards also take place to celebrate and highlight women in the sector. The European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards recently announce its 2017 finalists, with female winners across the board from roles including architecture, rail engineers, project managers and civil engineers.

Recently, Holly Broadhurst, a female engineering apprentice, was named the Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Higher and Degree Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Karen AshworthKaren Ashworth has a fascinating role as Validation Consultant at Schneider Electric™. She specialises in how to design, document, implement and test computer systems that are going to control or monitor pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.

What Karen enjoys most in her role is working with customers to define their needs, then undertaking testing and commissioning onsite to prove that those needs have been met.

Working in the nuclear industry

Karen has a degree in Engineering and was sponsored at university by British Nuclear Fuels, who she then went to work for as a graduate. “My first role involved designing a control system for a nuclear reprocessing plant. I then moved to Sellafield to become a shift leader on the Vitrification Plant which turns the highly active waste products from reprocessing into glass which is sealed into steel canisters for safe long term storage. I later returned to designing control systems at Eurotherm (now part of Schneider Electric) in Worthing and my experience working in the highly regulated nuclear industry transferred neatly over into working in pharmaceuticals.

Developing international best practice

For the last 16 years, Karen has been running her own company specialising in validating control systems for pharmaceutical applications and has continued to work closely with Eurotherm and then Schneider Electric throughout that time. “I’ve also been heavily involved in developing international best practice in this area working on the GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practice) good practice guide for validation of process control systems and leading the team who updated the good practice guide for testing systems in this environment and, most recently, leading a team who are writing a pragmatic guide to data integrity in process control systems,” explains Karen. One of Karen’s career highlights has in fact been when she was invited to be a member of the UK GAMP steering committee.

One of Karen’s more recently completed large projects with Schneider Electric involved foraying out from pure pharmaceuticals into hygiene products and related to a huge batch control system that manufactures the liquids used in some big name household products. Karen’s work is certainly never dull, and she thrives on each new challenge.

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star awards also allow women in STEM a platform to showcase their achievements and give them a chance to be recognised as a ‘rising star’ within the industry.

In February, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Entrepreneur First teamed up to launch the ‘Future of Engineering’ competition. The nationwide search hoped to find and promote the best of the UK’s up and coming leaders in engineering. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of £10,000 to put towards the development of their business or idea, while the runner up will receive £5,000.

A day to celebrate:

Every year, International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated on 23 June. Created in 2004, by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the day aims to celebrate female careers within the sector and highlight the lack of diversity in engineering, while encouraging more women and girls to think about becoming an engineer.

Inspirational Woman: Faye Banks | Open University student & Director of Energy, Costain Group


Faye Banks

Open University (OU) engineering student, Faye Banks, left school at 16 and started her career path in low skilled manual work in a meatpacking factory.

After growing frustrated about her limited career opportunities, she went back to college, achieved straight As and then went on to study for a BSc and an MSc in Engineering with the OU.

Studying with the OU has helped Faye to completely transform her life, leading to her securing a top role as the Director of Energy for one of the UK’s leading engineering companies, Costain.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I grew up in Barnsley and came from a family of four girls. We had a bit of a turbulent childhood and I was taken into care aged nine. It's safe to say that I had a lot of difficulties growing up. I left school at 16 as I’d never engaged with the education system and thought it was completely flawed.

The reality hit me when I left school and realised that there were no opportunities available to me, I had no formal qualifications and the jobs that I was applying for were really low skilled. I ended up getting a job in a manufacturing plant, packing meat into plastic containers. This meant having to work repetitive 12-hour days and night shifts - it was incredibly boring, and I knew then that I wanted to do something different. However, the harsh reality was that I had no qualifications. I then started looking for new highly skilled jobs, although at the time, I knew I was very far away from being able to apply for them.

I was bored and frustrated with my limited career options, so I decided to go back to college to study for my GCSEs – I managed to achieve 10 grade A’s. After spotting an ad in the local newspaper, I registered with The Open University (OU) to study for a BSc in Engineering. I absolutely loved the course and I’ve been studying with the OU ever since, for over 17 years now. I’ve achieved an MBA, MSc, MEng, and I am now currently studying for my PhD.

I’ve completely transformed my life and I now work for Costain, which is one of the UK’s largest engineering companies. As a result of my studies, I was successful in climbing the career ladder to become director of their energy department for electrical generation, transmission and distribution.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

For me I’d never really given much thought to my career when I was at school. I had my lightbulb moment about six months into my job at the meat packing plant after we’d had a major operational failure and were under pressure from one of our clients to supply the product that we were manufacturing. There was nothing that I could have done to repair the failure and the only people that could were the engineers.

At that moment, I realised just how important and significant the roles, skills and capabilities of engineers were – and that I had to go back to school and get some qualifications to be able to do a job like this.

The main issue for me was that I couldn't give up work to go back to college to study full-time, so I went to night classes to retake my GCSEs over the course of the year. The following year, I managed to secure 10 GCSEs at grade A.

I then approached one of the engineering managers at the manufacturing plant to see if they had any trainee or apprenticeship roles available. Fortunately, I got my qualifications in July and there were openings for apprentices to start in September. I was successful in my application, secured a role and have never looked back. It was definitely a life-changing point in my career!

Thanks to studying with the OU, I’ve been able to secure my dream role in the industry as the Director of Energy at one of the UK’s leading energy companies, Costain.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

When I was younger, and I was taken into care, survival was my number one priority and education was quite low down on my list – I never thought I’d have a career.

Then, when I knew that I wanted to go to university later on in life and obtain a degree so that I could become a chartered engineer, there was the realisation that I couldn't stop earning as I still had a family to support. If I'd pursued the traditional route, I would have lost income and that just wasn’t an option for me.

It was also difficult to even consider part-time learning at a brick university. I could never guarantee that I would be able to go to the classes as my schedule would often change at work and I was also raising a family. That's when I started to look into distance learning providers and I knew, after doing some research, that the OU was the perfect match for me.

When I think about the low skilled roles that I’d had previous to becoming an engineer and how monotonous and unchallenging they were, these never really inspired me. So, when I then fast forward to what I’ve achieved over the last twenty something years and I look at the impact on society of the projects that I’ve worked on, I’m extremely proud.  I’ve worked for National Grid and I was part of a number of major projects on their electrical transmission upgrades that impacted many people’s lives.

It can also be quite challenging working in such a male-dominated environment. I hope that I am paving the future path for more women to enter the field. I think it’s really important to start challenging the ancient stereotypes that surround the engineering profession and shed light on what it is really like to work in the industry. I’ve often been mistaken for a PA or a secretary in client meetings, so it’s always quite amusing once the meeting starts and people realise that I’m the lead consultant.

 How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I currently mentor a number of females in the engineering industry. I believe that investing in business mentoring is a useful and cost-effective way to develop top emerging talents. It also helps to keep your most knowledgeable and experienced performers engaged and energised.

As well as the transferral of critical business knowledge and skills, mentoring helps to develop a pipeline of future leaders who understand the skills and attitudes required to succeed within an organisation.

What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?

Unfortunately, the engineering industry remains one of the least diverse sectors. A recent consumer poll* from The Open University revealed that women are less aware of the career paths on offer within engineering, with 15 per cent stating they are unsure what careers are available, compared to just 1 in 10 (11%) men. When asked, more than one in three women (34 per cent) agreed barriers need to be broken down in the workplace, and that occupations such as engineering should include more women.

I worry that women, in particular, are being discouraged from seeking and pursuing careers in engineering, starving the profession of fresh perspectives that represent one of the most potent drivers of innovation. Much of the diversity deficit can be traced back to early years of schooling, as children grow up with outdated notions of roles they are expected to fulfil in adulthood, and it’s not only women. Overall diversity remains a huge problem when you consider the participation figures amongst minority ethnic groups and disabled people too.

I hope that the government, the education system and industry leaders will encourage more women and minority groups to join the sector. At Costain, over 50% of our graduate intake this year was female – which is great to see – but there is still more to be done!

If you could change one thing for women in the engineering, what would it be?

I would love to inspire more women to consider the engineering industry as a rewarding and lucrative career opportunity. I really enjoy working in a male-dominated environment and get the respect for the qualifications and experiences I have achieved over my 22 plus years in the industry. There is also a misconception that engineering is a dirty job, but this view is so far away from the truth. I did get my hands dirty when I was an apprentice, but I spend most of my time nowadays getting involved in strategic work and would love to help to dispel this myth, too.

 How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

Firstly, I think more needs to be done from a government perspective to debunk the myths surrounding the engineering perception in schools, in order to demonstrate the varied roles within it and to encourage more women to consider it as a potential profession in the future.

Secondly, the OU has changed my life for the better and I’m looking forward to sharing my story with others. I hope to show people from all walks of life that it’s never too late to pursue their career aspirations and encourage more women to study STEM subjects in the future!

 What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Outside of work and my studies I’ve won 15 national engineering awards, which I never ever thought I would do. I was the top engineering student in 2004, won the UK Young Engineer Award, and the Higher Education National Education Gold Award because of the grades I secured - I even got to go to the Houses of Parliament for the ceremony! Things have even progressed since then. I won the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Business Award in 2010 and I've since gone on to be recognised in the First Women Awards for Women in Science and Engineering. It definitely hasn't been easy, but what the OU has taught me has been absolutely paramount to the development and growth of my career. If I’d never got the qualifications, I would’ve never had the opportunities that I have enjoyed, and I wouldn’t have been able to even go to an interview and that’s a fact.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next goal is to achieve my PhD in Business Administration. Learning has become a way of life for me and I think life-long learning is the key to success in the current climate, and particularly in engineering, given all of the rapid technological advancements within the sector.

I really want to become an ambassador for women in engineering and highlight to people that it doesn’t matter what your background is, as long as you want to learn you can achieve anything with the OU.

*Polling of 2,006 UK adults conducted by Opinion Matters between 22nd -23rd October 2018

IET promote lack of women in engineering with #9PercentIs NotEnough


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has drawn attention, this week, to the dire figure that only 9% of the engineering industry is made up of female workers.

Highlighting the stat through a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #9PercentIsNotEnough, ladies from the engineering sector shared pictures of themselves holding up their hand to represent a need to stop and take note of the lack of women in the industry.

The statistic was taken from the IET’s 2015 Skills & Demands from Industry survey.

Furthermore, a survey called Engineering UK 2015: The State of Engineering found that only 6% of registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, EngTech) are women.

Below is a selection of the tweets from the campaign.

The IET will be holding its Achievement Awards at the Brewery, Chiswell Street, London on 16 November 2016. To find out more and register your place see here.




Nominations open for WISE Awards 2016 | New men’s category

Kayleigh Bateman

Nominations are now open for the WISE Awards 2016, which focuses on showcasing women in the science, technology and engineering sectors.

WISE Awards 2016The nominations are now open and the deadline for submissions is 9:00am on Friday 8 July 2016.

WISE has launched a new “WISE Man of the Year Award”, which is jointly sponsored by McKinsey and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

WISE describe the category as: “Recognising the crucial role men play in championing diversity and recognise their power to change workplace cultures and influence perceptions in order to make a bigger difference.”

Last year Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Princess Royal, Patron of WISE, presented the winners with their trophies. She said: “We want to show every girl in this country and her family that she could have a wonderful future in science and engineering.”

Previous winners include Anna Shaw, Laboratory Analyst Apprentice, GlaxoSmithKline and winner of the WISE Apprentice Award 2014.

She said: “I chose the apprenticeship route because I enjoy having a full time job but wanted to really develop myself technically too. The Award means a lot to me because I was never pushed forward by teachers at school. I want to make it possible for all the younger generation of people who follow to do the same thing.”

The WISE Awards 2016 categories and sponsors are listed below:

WISE Rising Star Award – sponsored by Intel
For a girl or young woman studying or training in science, technology, engineering or mathematics whose achievements and passion have inspired others to follow in her footsteps. (Replaces WISE Girl and WISE Apprentice Awards)

WISE Hero Award – sponsored by Babcock
To celebrate the inspirational story of a woman using science, technology or engineering to make the world a better place.

WISE Health & Safety Award – sponsored by BAM Nuttall
For a woman who has improved health and safety within a science, technology, engineering, manufacturing or construction environment.

WISE Research Award – sponsored by Winton Capital
Celebrating cutting edge research in science, technology, engineering or mathematics - to show the contributions women are making to advances in scientific or other technical fields.

WISE International Open Source Award – sponsored by Bloomberg
This is an international award for female contributors to open source software projects, reflecting the global nature of the open source community and the tech sector at large. Finalists will be asked to commit to an activity that helps get girls and women excited about careers in technology.

WISE Tech Start-Up Award – sponsored by Goldman Sachs
For a woman who has used technology to set up, or helped set up, a successful business.We are looking for innovation in the business model, product or service, business model, or the way in which technology is used in the business.

WISE Employer Award – sponsored by AWE
For an employer who has adopted the Ten Steps or a similar framework and can demonstrate a positive impact on the recruitment, retention and progression of women in their organisation, through their supply chain and/or the wider industry.

WISE Impact Award – sponsored by Thales
For a project, campaign or initiative which has significantly increased the number of girls or women in science, technology, engineering or mathematics in the UK and could be replicated by others. We are looking for evidence of sustained change.

WISE Woman of the Year Award – sponsored by Rolls-Royce PLC
Celebrating the achievements of a woman in a leadership role in a science, technology or engineering industry.

WISE Man of the Year Award – jointly sponsored by McKinsey & The Royal Academy of Engineering
To recognise men who are championing gender diversity, using their influence to drive change in their own organisation and amongst their peers.

IET and Prospect unveil guide to Progressing Women in STEM roles

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Prospect have teamed up to release a guide for Progressing Women in STEM Roles.

The union for professionals, Prospect, joined forces with the IET in March to announce its plans for the guide, which supports employers working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in being able to take action to improve gender diversity and inclusion in their workforce

The guide offers employers suggestions and best practice examples on how to attract more female candidates and steps to retain them and develop their careers. Tips are also given to managers to ensure promotions are fair and how to implement a ‘return to work’ programme.

The guide also covers unconscious bias, evaluating and monitoring the progress of diversity policies, and ensuring all staff feel valued regardless of gender.

Naomi Climer, IET President, said: “Only 9% of engineering staff are women and the lack of gender diversity is contributing to skills shortages that are damaging the economy. The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half of its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry.

“With this in mind, the IET is leading the way in encouraging more women into the sector. We know, for example, that many employers acknowledge that the lack of women in their organisations is a real problem, and so we hope this guidance will prompt them to take practical action to address this – both in terms of how they recruit more women and how they nurture the talent of those they already employ.”

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015

The IET tied in the launch of its guide with the announcement of its Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 award

This year’s winner was an Audio Engineer called Orla Murphy from Warwickshire. Employed by Jaguar Land Rover the 25 year old collected her award at an awards ceremony in London.women with phone featured

Climer added: “The announcement of our Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 also has an equally important role to play when it comes to gender diversity issues. By celebrating the achievements of exceptional women like Orla, we are giving young women a role model who will show them that women can make a real difference in our sector.”

Sue Ferns, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: "With around 20,000 members working in STEM, we are acutely aware of both the skills challenge these roles face and their vital contribution to building a more sustainable economy. Prospect has been working hard to encourage greater recruitment and retention of women which we believe is key to tackling the emerging skills crisis. The practical guidance published today builds on this and incorporates our pioneering work with employers in tackling unconscious bias.”

Denise McGuire, Vice President of Prospect, added: “Here at Prospect we are huge advocates of promoting equality and fairness in the workplace which is why we were delighted to work closely with the IET on guidance to help women progress in STEM roles. I'm sure the guidelines will be an invaluable tool for any employer, especially those in STEM, who are looking to become more female friendly in the way they recruit and retain staff."