How engineering will #TransformTheFuture: NMiTE talks #INWED19
21 June 2019
Ahead of this Sunday 23rd June's 6th annual International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMiTE) talk about how engineering – and women engineers – can transform the future.
Britain’s first purpose-built Engineering university, New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) is an initiative backed by government, educators and industry to transform engineering education in Britain. Located in Hereford, NMiTE aims to secure university status and become Britain’s first wholly new, purpose-built UK university in 40 years.
The NMiTE project is crucial to Britain’s competitive future. Engineers are key to mastering major world challenges – from sustainable food production to cybersecurity to artificial intelligence (AI) and more – but the UK is critically short of them. In the run-up to #INWED19, the annual celebration of women in engineering, organised by the Women's Engineering Society and designed to raise awareness of the gender gap in engineering, as well as promote it as a career path for women, two key members of NMiTE staff share their thoughts on engineering as a career choice for women:
How do you think engineering will #TransformTheFuture?
Lindsey Day, Partnership Associate, NMiTE: The focus for engineering is changing. As an industry, it's becoming more high profile in solving the ‘big issues’ and grand challenges that the world is currently facing, such as environmental concerns, and is therefore being better recognised for its integral role in transforming the future.
I see engineering as the way we can make changes and bring new ideas to life – whether that is making new products or finding new or improved ways of doing things.
What makes engineering a great career choice for women?
Sarah Hitt, Full Professor in Engineering Education, NMiTE: It’s often said that women like to work in caring roles – and I can’t think of anything more caring than being an engineer. The work that engineers do is so impactful on our everyday existence, and there’s a feeling of great responsibility – by its very ethos, being an engineer will be attractive to many women.
At my previous university, the student cohort was 27% female; however, the programme that I led was 60% female, as it dealt more with the human and social side of the work. The students were good at maths and science, but wanted to work with people – it’s important to highlight that this is a key part of engineering.
My own understanding of what an engineer does has rapidly changed. Engineering is interactive: it’s teamwork, it’s all about design. It is so much more dynamic and creative than I originally thought. When I first started, I would have laughed if I was told that you needed to be creative – but now I know that you have to be creative.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
Lindsey Day, Partnership Associate, NMiTE: I’m very logical and methodical, so throughout school I really enjoyed maths and science – but I’m also creative and loved art. Engineering is a great way to bring these two different skillsets together.
What made you want to work for NMiTE?
Lindsey Day, Partnership Associate, NMiTE: I was very excited to learn of NMiTE when I moved to Hereford three years ago – shaking up engineering education and a strong link to real world engineering is exactly what I am interested in! With a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, but not working as an engineer, NMiTE has given me the opportunity to contribute to the future of engineering in the UK.
The curriculum at NMiTE will be strongly linked to and influenced by the engineering and technology industry, so in my role as Partnership Associate, I am focused on building and maintaining strong links with the industry. As well as assisting with and supporting the curriculum, this will also ensure that our graduates are skilled in the areas that employers are currently needing.
Sarah Hitt, Full Professor in Engineering Education, NMiTE: I moved to the UK from the US to work for NMiTE because it is doing something so exciting and innovative. Among many other factors, one of the things that attracted me to NMiTE was the inclusion of the social and political context of engineering. This will help to draw women to the world of engineering, as they are passionate about the impact their work can have.
NMiTE is also committed to a 50/50 gender split, which was a huge draw for me.
What would you say to a young woman interested in a career within engineering?
Lindsey Day, Partnership Associate, NMiTE: Engineering is a career that is relevant to everybody, women and men. It is about a desire to solve problems, being creative and working collaboratively, things that women are naturally very good at, but we don’t often think of engineering as a career for women.
The opportunities within engineering are endless! If you have an interest in a particular area, or if you just love solving problems, engineering can give you the opportunity to make a real contribution to the world we live in.
Sarah Hitt, Full Professor in Engineering Education, NMiTE: Do you like to talk to people, build things, be creative, solve problems and make the world a better place? Then engineering is for you!
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