Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day
21 June 2022
According to Welsh Government statistics, over half of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) apprentices in Wales are women, compared to 44 per cent in England, nine per cent in Scotland and three per cent in Northern Ireland. Taking place annually on 23 June, International Women in Engineering Day is an awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.
Here Gaby Jenvey, Manufacturing Engineer at global engineering technologies company, Renishaw, takes the opportunity to discuss where her love of engineering came from and how she thinks we can encourage the next generation of female engineers to find their passion for this career. Gaby is based at Renishaw's Miskin site in South Wales and joined the company in 2018.
Why did you decide to become an engineer?
My father owned a timber and builders merchant, so I grew up loving to build things and being very handy – I even made all my sister's nursery furniture at the age of seven. My school had a large technology department and this drove my love of building further when we took part in Greenpower where I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to help design, build and race an electric car, which made me realise I wanted a career in engineering, even from a young age.
How has your career progressed since school?
I attended Cardiff University and completed a degree in mechanical engineering. During my degree, I did two summer placements with a variety of engineering companies to get a better understanding about engineering roles and how it felt to work in different sized companies. I heard about Renishaw's graduate scheme after working with additive manufacturing (3D printing) machines during my degree and joined the scheme in 2018.
In my graduate role, I moved around the business completing two rotations as a production engineer, one as a mechanical design engineer, and one in a management role. This mixture gave me a good understanding of the different areas I could work in and the opportunity to network with different people in the business who I can turn to for guidance. I chose to continue my career into management and over the last year, my team has grown from 18 to 34 people.
What is your advice to girls considering a career in engineering?
Engineering isn't just a job for men, so it shouldn't be thought about any differently to any other career choice. I would really encourage girls to go and get some work experience. It allows you to understand the wide range of opportunities that have become available over the last few years, such as engineers specialising in new forms of sustainability, software and biomechanical opportunities. Work experience also allows girls to see other women in interesting roles and get a better understanding about the changing gender ratio.
What can schools do to encourage girls to consider a career in engineering?
Schools can help inspire the next generation of engineers by going to engineering sites for a tour, so the children can understand the different types of engineering that are available to them. Children can also take part in after-school activities that help them create a passion for building things. Once this love is planted, schools can teach them maths and physics at an older age to help them apply their education to a future career.
Find out more about Renishaw's education outreach programmes at www.renishaw.com/education-outreach.
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