GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK — A female engineer who joined Renishaw as an apprentice at 16 has been shortlisted for a prestigious engineering industry award that aims to banish outdated engineering stereotypes and help change the perception that engineering is only a career for men.
Lucy Ackland, now 26, a project manager in Renishaw’s Additive Manufacturing Products Division working on the company’s next generation of metal 3D printing machines, has been shortlisted for the Institution of Engineering and Technology Young Woman of the Year Awards.
She started her career as a mechanical engineering apprentice and has progressed through a variety of roles, while being supported by Renishaw to achieve further engineering qualifications on a day-release basis. In 2012, she achieved a first-class honors degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering from the University of South Wales, and in 2014 she was appointed a board member of the charity Young Engineers.
The IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards aims to find female role models to help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis. Lucy Ackland has been shortlisted along with four female engineers from other leading engineering organizations — Ford, Rolls-Royce, ABB Ltd and Selex ES.
“I am thrilled to have made it this far in a competition that includes so many brilliant, high-achieving females," she said. “At the age of 13 I was inspired to become an engineer and, despite some opposition from those who felt that I should follow a more academic route, I chose to apply for an apprenticeship. I hope that my progress and academic achievements since then can similarly help to inspire other young people to consider engineering as an attractive career option.”
Women currently represent only 6 percent of the engineering workforce in the UK, the lowest percentage in Europe.
“The lack of women in engineering is a huge problem for this country, contributing to skills shortages which threaten the economy," said IET Director of Membership and former YWE winner Michelle Richmond. "It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding careers.
“The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of things: from the careers advice girls are given in schools, to schools not instilling girls with the confidence to opt for science and math at A-level, through to employers needing to do more to make their approach to recruitment and retention more female friendly.
“It’s also a result of the lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls – which is where our Young Woman Engineer of the Year winners can play a vital role by encouraging and inspiring more young girls to become engineers.”
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