L to R: Sara Underwood, IET president Barry Brooks, Abbie Hutty, IET chief executive Nigel Fine, and Yasmin Ali.
Spacecraft structures engineer wins prestigious IET prize.
A space engineer from Hertfordshire, an apprentice from Lancashire and an operations engineer from London were all winners at the 2013 IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards on 5 December.
Twenty-six year-old Abbie Hutty from Hitchin was named the overall Young Woman Engineer of the Year, from a shortlist of 10 high-calibre candidates. Abbie is a spacecraft structures engineer at Astrium, and is currently working on the ExoMars Rover mission, Europe’s first rover mission to Mars.
Abbie was chosen for her commitment to outreach and the public promotion of engineering, as well as her work as a STEM ambassador, mentor, and promoter of women in engineering roles.
The ceremony took place at the Pullman Hotel in London, where Abbie was awarded a trophy and £2,500 in prize money. As the winner of the award, she will become an ambassador for the profession, encouraging more females to consider engineering as a career.
Abbie said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have received this award, as having met and spoken to the other finalists, I know that the standard of the competition was exceptional.
“Engineering is a challenging but rewarding industry to work in and it’s great to receive recognition from such a long-running and respected institution as the IET. Hopefully this award will highlight the exciting reality of a career in engineering and encourage further investment in the talents of female engineers for years to come.”
Twenty-one year-old Sara Underwood of Lancashire was awarded the Mary George Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Apprentice. Sara, originally from Godalming in Surrey, is a higher apprentice at Rolls-Royce, where she spends time working in multiple teams within the manufacturing and engineering departments.
Twenty-five year-old Yasmin Ali, originally from Southwell, won the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize. Yasmin is an operations engineer at E.ON in London. After graduating from Nottingham University, she completed the two-year E.ON Engineering and Leadership graduate scheme, where she worked in coal and gas fired power stations in the UK as well as on business expansion in Istanbul, Turkey.
Other finalists at the ceremony were Victoria Martin from Expedition Engineering, Marie Adeyemi from Atkins and Sarah Turnball from Rolls-Royce. The event was hosted by Professor Alice Roberts. It was the biggest Young Woman Engineer ceremony to date, with over 400 people in attendance, including Chi Onwurah MP. The evening also saw last year’s winner, Yewande Akinola, talk about her experiences as Young Woman Engineer of the Year.
One attendee, Imisi J on Twitter, said she was “truly inspired” by Yewande’s talk, and that she was “buzzing to graduate and become an actual engineer now”.
Now in their 37th year, the Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards honour the very best young female engineers working in the UK, and seek to highlight the achievements of women in engineering and encourage others to enter the profession. Currently, just seven per cent of the engineering workforce is female, so there is an urgent need to improve gender diversity in the profession. The awards programme is one of the IET’s key tools for tackling the engineering gender gap, alongside the IET Women’s Network.
It is also part of the IET’s wider awards series, which this year has provided over £1 million to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.