ICE celebrates National Women in Engineering Day

ICE has been celebrating the contribution of women to the engineering profession with a host of women up and down the country

Jarmilla Davies, Helen Randell and Carli Van Niekerk with Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science (2nd from Left)
Jarmilla Davies, Helen Randell and Carli Van Niekerk with Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science (2nd from Left)

Supported by #NWED2016, National Women in Engineering Day was created in 2014 by WES to celebrate their 95th birthday in order to focus attention on the great opportunities available for women in engineering. ICE once again supported the day with activities across the country.

ICE Wales Cymru hosted an event profiling civil engineers Jarmilla Davies, Helen Randell and Carli Van Niekerk which featured a keynote speech from Julie James, Welsh Assembly Minister for Skills and Science. They also held a very successful STEM Careers day at Techniquest, Glyndwr University to promote STEM Careers and subjects to girls from local north Wales Schools.

The Bridges to Schools event engaged with over 70 pupils alongside local companies, building the bridge four times during the day.

ICE's North East team co-ordinated a host of events, including an activity morning at Newminster Middle School for year 7 students, and a talk at Sunderland University by Amy Wright, a senior site engineer for Farrans. Farrans also held sessions for local year 9 students to build paper bridges and held a practical surveying exercise.

A short film was produced by ICE Northern Ireland featuring women engineers talking about their experiences in the industry and the need for more women and girls in civil engineering. The film included contributions from Ciara Doherty an engineer with Lagan Construction Group and Ciara Lappin, Technical Director at Doran Consulting.

ICE South West held an 'Inclusivity in Engineering Conference' with Plymouth University, featuring high profile speakers such as Ingrid Waterhouse from KPMG & Helen Murphy from WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Ingrid Waterhouse at the 'Inclusivity in Engineering Conference'
Ingrid Waterhouse at the 'Inclusivity in Engineering Conference'

ICE London and South East also contributed to a 'Big Discussion panel event featuring a host of high profile industry partners including Alison Baptiste, ‎Director Strategy & Investment at Environment Agency, Dawn Bonfield, CEO of Women in Engineering Society, Sarah Haslam, Powertrain Engineering Manager at Ford and Steve Morriss, CEO Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at AECOM.

A selection of short films were also released to mark the day on ICE's YouTube channel featuring high profile women engineers discussing their careers and Hannah Shewan-Frien, a Senior Technician at Arup posted her experiences about her journey into the engineering profession on ICE's Civil Engineer Blog.

ICE has also contributed to a 'Women in STEM' supplement in the Daily Telegraph where Judith Sykes, Co-author of ICE's forthcoming State of the Nation: Devolution report and Director at Expedition talks about her experience as a woman engineer. Also included in the supplement was an interview with President's Apprentice Emma Galley, a Section Engineer at Skanska who also worked on the report.

Also marking the day, the Telegraph announced its list of the top 50 women engineers which included an impressive showing of ICE members and fellows following ICE's calls for civils entries to the poll.

ICE members featured prominently in the Telegraph's Top 50 Women in Engineering poll
ICE members featured prominently in the Telegraph's Top 50 Women in Engineering poll

The poll attracted over 800 entries, and the final list included ICE Vice President Rachel Skinner of WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff and Michèle Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail. They both recently featured in the 'ICE Talks' series of films talking about their experiences of working in engineering.

ICE Director of Membership, Seán Harris stressed the importance of addressing the gender imbalance in engineering:

"Civilisation stands on the shoulders of the civil engineers who build our cities, deliver sanitation and connect people across the globe, and it is vital that we inspire and recruit the next generation of engineers. To do this, we must present ourselves as inclusive and diverse. UK engineering lags behind much of Europe in terms of a gender-balanced workforce, and employers risk becoming increasingly marginalised if they ignore the benefits of attracting more women into the profession.

"Women represent 12% of ICE's total membership and female applications to ICE are slowly rising, with graduate numbers at 16%. We must continue to reach out to those who dismiss engineering, and better celebrate the success of women in our industry. ICE is implementing a Diversity and Inclusivity plan which aims to tackle unconscious bias within the sector. We are also working with industry to develop internship programmes for engineers returning to work after having children, and working with schools to help overcome outdated perceptions about careers in engineering."