ICE Scotland Fellow Belinda listed in UK’s top 50 female engineers

ICE Scotland Fellow and Scottish Water Revenue and Risk Manager, Belinda Oldfield, features in the Daily Telegraph’s inaugural list of the top 50 Women in Engineering released today to coincide with National Women in Engineering Day (NWED).

Belinda Oldfield, one of the UK
Belinda Oldfield, one of the UK's top 50 female engineers.

The list, compiled by the Telegraph in collaboration with the Women's Engineering Society features the UK's top influential female engineers chosen from almost 900 nominations. Role models like Belinda are just one of the ways that ICE is raising the profile of our talented women engineers both within the industry and to the next generation.

Belinda recently was shortlisted for the Global Risk Management Awards and is responsible for £1.1bn of revenue in her current role.

She is a terrific role model for other women in the industry and is collaborative and supportive in her approach, mentoring other colleagues to achieve their potential. She established and led the Women in Leadership initiative at Scottish Water and supports Changing the Chemistry (CtC) dedicated to achieving a better gender balance on Boards in Scotland.

As well as a FICE, Belinda has served as a member of the Water Industry Innovation Panel for Scotland, is a member of the Institute of Water and current Scottish Area President (the first woman to hold this role), and an affiliate member of the Institute of Risk Management. She is a keen supporter of Women in Science and Engineering. Belinda joined the Board of Highlands & Islands Enterprise in April 2016.

She was a member of the merger team who created Scottish Water and a key contributor to making the regulatory framework in Scotland work.

Belinda is keen to see more women enter the civil engineering industry and is proud of the work she has done to encourage more young girls to take the necessary subjects to become engineers.

Belinda said: "I felt as a Fellow I could act as a role model for women and encourage more girls into the industry. Creating a good role model and letting girls know the biggest tool in engineering is the brain, might encourage many to choose STEM subjects and continue into engineering and continue to shape our futures."

National Women Engineering Day enables ICE to showcase our members and get the message out about the rewarding nature of a career in engineering, so vital to inspiring and recruiting the next generation into the profession.

ICE Scotland Director, Sara Thiam, said: "Our quality of life relies on the civil engineers who build our cities, deliver sanitation and connect people across the globe but there are still too few women in the profession. Scotland lags behind much of Europe in terms of a gender-balanced workforce. An industry which reflects society as a whole can improve infrastructure design and delivery. Employers who ignore the benefits of attracting more women into the profession risk becoming increasingly marginalised."

ICE Scotland's What do we do? leaflet features women across Scotland involved in projects ranging from the new Queensferry Crossing to flood prevention measures for local communities, and features women at all levels outlining why they love their job. The leaflet is proving invaluable at careers events when a worrying perception persists that engineering is for boys.

As a civil engineer working for a local authority, incoming ICE Scotland Chair Frances Ratcliffe who features in the leaflet does essential but often unsung work looking after the roads and bridges in the Fife area, leading work to strengthen and renew structures to keep them safe. This included the recent reconstruction of flood damaged structures in Dura Den where three people were trapped in properties after heavy rain caused a river to burst its banks and tore down part of a house.

ICE Scotland Chair, Mac West, said: "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."