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Diversity in engineering is not improving fast enough. After years of effort, the engineering and construction sectors are still struggling to get the proportion of women engineers above one in ten, with other under-represented groups equally poorly represented. Indeed the number of female construction workers on site is only one in a hundred.
This lack of diversity is costing the industry money in terms of lack of skills, productivity, staff safety and morale, innovation, profit and creativity. The industry is changing. The world is changing. Disruptive technology, big data, the lifestyle, values and aspirations of young people all point to a future which is different from the past. Engineering needs this diversity and this creativity to thrive and for the UK to remain competitive in the international marketplace, and needs to act now to attract this future workforce.
In 2015, Dawn Bonfield MBE authored a report (Disruptive Diversity) commissioned by the ICE, which discussed the challenges of diversity in engineering. Her talk will discuss these issues and articulate her thoughts on how they can be addressed through a range of concerted actions by the Institution, industry and the wider society.
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Dawn studied Materials Science at Bath University and during her career has worked as a materials engineer at AERE Harwell, Citroen Research Centre (Paris), British Aerospace (Bristol), MBDA (Stevenage), and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (London).
She is a Chartered Engineer, a European Engineer and Fellow of ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers), IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) and is Past President and former Chief Executive of the Women's Engineering Society (WES).
She is Founder and Director of Towards Vision, a Company which aims to work towards a vision of diversity and inclusion in engineering. Among her many accomplishments, she was the founder of National Women in Engineering Day (now International Women in Engineering Day) and in 2016 won the SEMTA award for Diversity in Engineering. During her time at WES she was the founder of the inaugural 50 Women in Engineering List with the Daily Telegraph, the Magnificent Women schools outreach project, and the Sparxx project to support students in CRESTA (Creativity, Engineering, Science, Technology and Art).