UK: Two of the air conditioning and refrigeration industry’s leading female engineers have been included in this year’s Top 50 Women in Engineering list (WE50).
The list, released today to celebrate Women in Engineering Day, includes Jacinta Caden, recently elected to the Institute of Refrigeration’s board of trustees, and Lisa-Jayne Cook, a sales & applications engineer with J&E Hall. Also included in the list is Lauren McNaughton, an apprentice building services engineer with ARUP.
Now in its fourth year, the WE50 continues to showcase the extensive female talent across the sector. This year the focus was on women currently serving as apprentices or those who have previously undertaken an apprenticeship.
Jacinta has been working in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry since 2003. After two years at refrigeration contractor Integral, she recently joined Critical Project Services, a management consulting company dedicated to the mission critical/data centre industry, as business development associate – Europe.
In January Jacinta was named ACR Woman of the Year at the at the National ACR & Heat Pump Awards 2019.
Admitting to being particularly proud of this latest achievement, Jacinta Caden said: “The WE50 Award was open to all engineering disciplines and being chosen as a Top 50 winner is fantastic. The theme this year was current or former apprentices, which was an ideal category for me and also great recognition for our industry too. As many of us know the RAC industry is often overlooked in many capacities. We need skills more than ever and I am a firm believer that apprenticeships can provide a priceless foundation to males and females alike entering into any career discipline.”
An advocate of apprenticeships, Jacinta remarked: “There is a stigma and many misconceptions attached to choosing an apprenticeship, I have found this particularly in the UK, less so in Ireland (where I am from and did my apprenticeship) where majority of school leavers enroll in an apprenticeship, albeit the majority still being male. There is more to be done in relation to influencing the minds of children, students, parents, mentors, employers and the professionals in education.”
Lisa-Jayne Cook entered the industry in 2002 as applications manager at GEA Searle, later to become Kelvion. In all, she spent 16 years at the company, latterly as key account manager. Lisa-Jayne recently joined J&E Hall after just over a year at Aqua Cooling Solutions.
“It is an honour, a privilege and truly humbling to be recognised by the Women’s Engineering Society and to be included within such an inspiring group of female engineers,” she said. “It still hasn’t really sunk in.”
Lisa-Jayne is also passionate about attracting young people into the industry, particularly female engineers. “There is both a distinct lack of young people coming into the RACHP industry and a vast difference between the number of men and women,” she said. “I hope that the valuable work both WES and the Women in RACHP group are doing will break down the prejudices we still face in such male dominated roles, and that we will inspire the next generation to take up careers in STEM, which they will enjoy without the challenges and biases previous generations have faced.”
The 2019 awards are said to have attracted a large number of high-quality nominations from a broad range of industries. The 50 winners and highly commended nominees came from many different sectors including professional services, pharmaceutical, aerospace, facilities management and automotive.
Dawn Childs, WES president said of the awards, “Apprenticeships remain one of the key routes for technical education and subsequently, to qualifying as an engineer. The breadth and depth of roles and industries covered by the entries was simply breathtaking and the achievements of the individual entrants were stunning – we have definitely found another truly inspirational list of female engineers!”
Dawn Fitt, who headed the judging panel of industry experts, said: “As a former engineering technician apprentice it has been a pleasure to see first-hand the fantastic achievements of both current and former apprentices. This is particularly heartening given the push to increase the number of apprenticeships within the UK. I believe that this year’s list showcases the career opportunities for any woman wanting to pursue an engineering apprenticeship.”