Women in Engineering Day

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National Women in Engineering Day Jo da Silva Arup

Today’s National Women in Engineering Day sees girls from years nine and 10 invited to Winchester Science Centre to take part in co-operative design-and-build tasks

Founded to encourage more female students to consider careers in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, the programme will see students mentored by female ambassadors from Stem companies presenting them with networking opportunities.

If anyone is keen to find the next Jo da Silva (pictured) – founder of Arup’s international development division – this would be a good place to look.

In the late Nineties, a fledgling Da Silva featured on a poster campaign to encourage schoolgirls to consider science and engineering careers. The situation is improving but slowly – Britain has the lowest percentage of women engineers in Europe (six per cent – the same figure as in 1919).

Talent spotters might also want to look closely at projects submitted to the James Dyson Award, whose closing date is 2 July.

The award celebrates products which have “a significant and practical purpose, are commercially viable, and are designed with sustainability in mind”.

Last year, 23-year-old design graduate James Roberts took the plaudits with his portable, inflatable incubator, which can be used in challenging conditions such as refugee camps. The award can offer students and recent graduates international media exposure and start-up funding, as well as a striking addition to their CVs.

Getting young people interested in engineers is something close to Will Butler-Adams’ heart. The managing director of Brompton Bicycle told Director that British cycling, like so many industries, suffers from a shortage of engineers.

“It’s a massive problem,” says Butler-Adams. “There is no quick fix. You have to unlock the ability for us to bring in engineers from abroad, which we are doing, but you have to get engineers going into schools to educate pupils at a young age on what engineering is.”

To find out more about National Women in Engineering Day, visit wes.org.uk

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About author

Christian Koch

Christian Koch

Alongside his work for Director, Christian has written features for the Evening Standard, The Guardian, Sunday Times Style, The Independent, Q, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, ShortList and Glamour in an eclectic career which has seen him interview everybody from Mariah Carey to Michael Douglas through to Richard Branson with newspaper assignments including reporting on the Japanese tsunami and living with an Italian cult.

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