What we do
Discover how we support the defence and security of the UK.Discover more
AWE graduate Catriona shares her story to inspire other young women into a career in engineering, in support of International Women in Engineering Day (IWED) June 23.
Set up in 2014 by the Women's Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, this now international awareness day, focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles, especially for girls and young women, and celebrates the achievements of women engineers.
Engineer Catriona Hudson who joined the AWE grad scheme nine months ago, said: “Unfortunately there are still a lack of females in STEM roles. I think there could be a perception that women don’t always fit into these roles but in my experience women make great scientists and engineers as we are diligent and meticulous.
“This is my first job since leaving university in June 2016, where I studied a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with International Study. As a Graduate Engineer I am on a rotational placement scheme.
“I enjoy the variety of being able to rotate placements and see different aspects of the business. The graduate scheme is supportive and there are lots of opportunities for development outside our placements. At the moment my placement is really exciting as I am getting to see real manufacturing processes.
“One part of my job that I really enjoy is getting involved in outreach activities. We get to go out to local schools to encourage and promote STEM. One activity we did recently was the Primary Science Challenge which involved interactive experiments with around 450 Year 5 pupils from 12 local schools. We also get involved in Teentech which is a challenge for local school pupils to solve STEM challenges. I’ve also been lucky enough to become a schools mentor for a local pupil.”
“The best thing about my job is the calibre of what AWE is working on and being a part of it! I think the science behind what we make is amazing, and the variety of opportunities in engineering, let alone STEM, are so massive that there is so much to learn here.
The advice I would give to anyone who was thinking about a career in STEM is to be determined and don’t be put off by the current ratios of girls to boys. When I was at university studying Mechanical Engineering, we started with about 10 girls and 110 boys, but by the time we finished our course we had gained girls and quite a few of the boys had dropped out.”
A key subtheme for the IWED campaign this year is 'men as allies'. While the key aim of the initiative is to celebrate women in engineering, WES believes that to achieve real diversity and equality, we must strive to remove all barriers, inadvertent or not, so that both men and women equally want take up engineering as a career.