Three young female engineers have been recognised at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for their work in engineering.
IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Dr Ozak Esu (26) is an Electrical Engineer at Cundall, working on co-ordinated electrical services for new build, refurbishment and fit-out projects.
IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices: Jamie D’Ath (21) is an Engineering Apprentice at MBDA. She has been involved in a wide range of activities including completing complex drawings for parts and assemblies, to analysing procurement statistics, to conducting trials.
Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Award: Dr Larissa Suzuki (31) is Head of Data Science at Founders4School and Honorary Researcher at University College London. Her professional career includes over 10 years advancing fields of computer science and engineering, including work on smart cities, data infrastructures, emerging technology, and computing applied to medicine.
All three winners will play an ambassadorial role for the engineering and technology professions in the forthcoming months, promoting engineering careers to girls and young people.
On winning, Ozak said: On winning, Ozak said: “It feels fantastic – I am truly honoured to receive the Award. I hope to use this platform to promote engineering as an exciting and creative career choice for young people.”
These prestigious engineering industry awards celebrate women working in modern engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes.
As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards seek to find female role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Just over one in ten (11%) of the UK engineering and technical workforce is female (source: 2017 IET Skills Survey).
Jo Foster, IET Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said: “I’d like to congratulate our fantastic winners and finalists of this year’s Awards. They are a real credit to the engineering profession and will make excellent role models to young girls who might be thinking about a career in engineering and technology.
“It’s vital we champion engineering careers to the next generation – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to do something life – or even – world changing.”
To celebrate the Awards, which marked their 40th anniversary this year, the IET delved into the perceptions of a ‘typical engineer’ and found that the stereotype of an engineer is alive and well amongst school children and their parents.
To dispel these engrained ideas of what a typical engineer ‘looks like’, the IET launched a campaign to showcase engineering in a completely different light, dramatically highlighting the diverse career opportunities available in the industry through stunning and unexpected imagery.
The IET commissioned Rankin Studios, renowned for photographing high profile individuals from Kate Moss and Madonna to The Queen, to style and shoot this year’s award finalists as well as previous affiliates in a series of dramatic and thought provoking images. Dubbed ‘Portrait of an Engineer’, the series was shot by award-winning photographer and Rankin protégé Vicky Lawton.