UK: The building services contractors’ group BESA has launched a Woman Engineer of the Year award to mark the centenary of the Womens’ Engineering Society (WES).
BESA says it believes engineering professions in general – and building engineering in particular – will not be able to meet their future business goals without a far more gender diverse workforce. Just 9% of British engineers are women and BESA says it is firmly behind the WES campaign to raise that figure to 30% by 2030.
“Creating more career opportunities for women in engineering is not just the right thing to do morally – it is the right thing to do for our businesses,” said BESA chief executive David Frise. “There is plenty of evidence to prove that the most successful businesses are those with the most diverse workforces.”
The BESA Woman Engineer of the Year award will be launched in early 2019 and presented at the BESA National Conference on 21 November 2019 in London. It will recognise a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the work of the Association and the championing of women in the building services workforce.
“There has never been a better time for parents to encourage their girls to embark on a career in engineering,” said Simone Hart Sibbald, the MD of ventilation hygiene contractor Perfect Service Solutions, and former chair of BESA Scotland. “The career potential has never been greater because, alongside a very real skills shortage, there is growing understanding of the positive way women are contributing to this male-dominated sector.”
Role models are seen as “crucial” in encouraging women – particularly young women – to enter male dominated fields like building engineering services. BESA says the new award will recognise these role models and build on the success of women like Joanna Robinson, MD of BESA member company Mansfield Pollard.
As well as running a large, international business, Joanna is chair of BESA’s Ventilation Group.
“During my time as chair, I am supporting the BESA agenda to promote women in engineering, and am committed to empowering the next generation of female engineers – highlighting the potential career opportunities in manufacturing and engineering,” said Joanna.
BESA’s Future Leaders group is also nurturing emerging talent by giving young engineers – drawn from member companies – opportunities to grow and develop through mentoring and training. The group’s chair is Reanna Evans – a project engineer at the contractor NG Bailey.