Inspiration: IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards shortlist

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This year’s YWE shortlist: (L-R) Vidhyalakshmi Karthikeyan, Jessica Bestwick, Holly Driver, Nicola Combe, Laurie-Ann Marshall, Lucy Ackland, Naomi Mitchison, Hannah Stanbury and Hannah Pearlman

Five young female engineers have been shortlisted for a prestigious engineering industry award – The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards – which aims to banish outdated engineering stereotypes.

Working on projects as diverse as the next generation of 3D printers, laser warning systems for military aircraft and the cooling system for a futuristic new car, the engineers looking to help change the perception that engineering is about hard hats and greasy pipes, or only a career for men.

The IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards aim is to find female role models to help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis, where women currently represent only six per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK.
The shortlist are:

– Lucy Ackland is a Project Manager at Renishaw plc, working on the next generation of metal 3D printing machines.
– Naomi Mitchison is a Senior Hardware Engineer at Selex ES, specialising in laser warning systems for military aircraft.
– Hannah Pearlman is a Cooling Systems Engineer at Ford, working on the cooling system for the next generation Fiesta.
– Jessica Bestwick is working as a Higher Technical Apprentice at Rolls-Royce, developing and testing large aircraft engines.
– Laurie-Ann Marshall works as an Apprentice Circuit Engineer at ABB Ltd, designing electricity sub-station protection and control systems.
Vidhyalakshmi Karthikeyan, Holly Driver, Nicola Combe and Hannah Stanbury (pictured above) were also shortlisted for the prize.

Michelle Richmond, IET director of membership, and a former YWE winner, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a huge problem for this country, contributing to skills shortages which threaten the economy. It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding careers.


“The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of things: from the careers advice girls are given in schools, to schools not instilling girls with the confidence to opt for science and maths at A-level, through to employers needing to do more to make their approach to recruitment and retention more female friendly.

“It’s also a result of the lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls – which is where our Young Woman Engineer of the Year winners can play a vital role by encouraging and inspiring more young girls to become engineers.”

The winner will be announced at the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony on 10 December in central London.

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