Press release

IET Announces the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Finalists

01 November 2011

The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) today announces the finalists for the 2011 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards, celebrating the dynamic young women representing the very best in engineering and technology.

The IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards are made up of three prestigious prizes that honour the very best female engineers under the age of 30 working in the UK today.

Each a highly esteemed award, the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards recognise the achievements of fresh new female talent in engineering and aims to encourage and inspire others to enter the profession.

Ranging from 20-28 years old and occupying a great mix of roles from an aircraft engineer to a combustion engineer, the IET’s Selection Panel has chosen eight professional engineers and apprentices based on their achievements to date and commitment to the advancement of women and technology.

The 2011 finalists are:

  • Yasmin Ali (E.ON UK)
  • Laurie-Ann Benner (PEME, Process Control)
  • Natasha Carpenter (Cable & Wireless Worldwide)
  • Laura Chapman (MBDA UK)
  • Jamie-Leigh Clayton (Invensys Rail Ltd)
  • Captain Charlotte Joyce (4 Regiment Army Air Corps)
  • Sophie Lay (GE Aviation Systems)
  • Kelly Walker (E.ON New building & Technology Ltd)

The winners will be presented with their cash prize and awards at an exclusive ceremony on 1st December at IET London: Savoy Place. The ceremony will be hosted by TV presenter and talented musician Myleene Klass. 

The awards are sponsored by BP, E-ON, GCHQ, Intel, National Grid, NICEIC, The Royal Air Force, RS Components, Selex Galileo, Siemens, and Transport for London.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912

Notes to editors:

Finalist Biographies:


Yasmin Ali

Yasmin started on a two year graduate scheme with E.ON. after completing her studies, which has given her the chance to work in power stations in Nottingham and Central London and will take her to Istanbul for a six month commercial role.

Volunteering as a placement manager for the charity organisation Engineers without Borders, Yasmin supports young people on engineering placements in the developing world. Feeling a duty to spread the word about engineering, Yasmin regularly takes part in events at schools, universities and within E.ON to promote engineering careers.


Laurie-Ann Benner, Apprentice Mechanical Engineer, PEME, Process Control

Inspired by her father, Laurie-Ann developed a fascination with the food industry and the methods used to produce food products and as such explored apprenticeships and courses in this area. At present Laurie-Ann is working as part of the condition based monitoring team at PEME, carrying out vibration analysis, thermal imaging, oil sampling and ultra sound leak testing.

Laurie-Ann has been active in promoting the engineering sector to young women and has spoken to local secondary schools and produced a radio piece promoting apprenticeships.


Natasha Carpenter, Advanced Apprentice, Cable & Wireless Worldwide

Natasha was working as a Legal Secretary and was always the person people turned to for help with a new phone or computer. As such Natasha wanted to know how it all worked and decided to embark on an apprenticeship on Telecoms.

Juggling the responsibility of managing a family as a single mother with her apprenticeship commitments, Natasha has achieved great success in her career to date winning a number of certificates and awards.

Natasha is part of a team helping the Hot Staging Department helping to configure routers which would be sent out to engineers to install at customer sites.


Laura Chapman

Currently a third year Engineering Apprentice at MBDA, Laura is in the process of completing ten placements across the company.

The youngest finalist this year, the 20 year old secured a role at MBDA after achieving top marks at A Level. A year ahead of colleagues in her intake Laura has now been given the opportunity to study for a degree in engineering.


Jamie-Leigh Clayton, Assistant Signalling Design Engineer, Invensys Rail Ltd

Jamie-Leigh left school after her first year of A Levels and started a three year apprenticeship with Westinghouse Rail Systems Ltd (now Invensys Rail Ltd) in railway signalling design.

Having completed her apprenticeship scheme in September 2010 Jamie became an Assistant Signalling Designer and carried on her role within the Victoria Line upgrade. She has since gained by IRSE Signalling Designer Licence and qualified as Engineering Technician in April 2011 when she was the first Invensys apprentice to be awarded EngTech registration through the IET.


Captain Charlotte Joyce, Aircraft Engineering Officer, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps

Charlotte supplies airworthy battle winning helicopters on world-wide operations and leads professional engineering soldiers in dangerous and challenging environments. Charlotte revels in meeting a different engineering challenge each day, whether it be restoring airworthiness following battle damage in the desert of Afghanistan, to investigating saline corrosion whilst embarked at sea off the coast of Libya.

Whilst at University Charlotte was involved in charity work for Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad, taking part in a two-month deployment to Rwanda working with rural Women’s Groups in remote locations to drive income generating initiatives and to improve their family diet through the building of a rabbit farm. She then led the team to Uganda to help implement basic water treatment technology, fuel efficient stoves and sanitation education.


Sophie Lay

Another of this year’s youngest finalists, Sophie secured a place on the GE Aviation Systems’ Graduate Development Programme following her studies. During the programme, Sophie worked in the Controllers and Interface Products team on distributed computing systems.

Sophie is now leading systems engineering activities to develop a new, distributed computing unit for a demonstrator aircraft. She is also involved in the promotion of science and engineering to female secondary school students as part of a scheme that she has co-founded at GE.


Kelly Walker, Combustion Engineer, E.ON Power Generation

Kelly is responsible for the provision of both specialist and general technical consultancy to the E.ON coal and oil power stations throughout Europe and external customers such as EDF Energy and SSE.

A passion for green and efficient energy combined with her dynamic and pro-active attitude allows Kelly to make a difference every day through engineering; engaging in the security of energy supply and acting at the forefront of new biomass technologies.

Kelly’s current roles within E.ON place her in a highly visible position in a pan-European team of engineers working alongside academia. This enhances the influence she has as a role model and her capacity for the promotion of engineering to others.


About IET Awards & Scholarships

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is a world-leading professional organisation, sharing and advancing knowledge to promote science, engineering and technology across the world.  Part of its remit is promoting, recognising and rewarding excellence and it does this through four awards programmes: The Ambition Awards, Achievement Awards, Innovation Awards and Young Woman Engineer Awards.

The IET Ambition Awards programme includes a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, competitions and travel awards encouraging young people to enter the engineering and technology profession and providing financial support throughout university. The IET Achievement Awards recognise the exceptional achievements of individuals working in the engineering and technology profession.  The IET Innovation Awards celebrate the products, technologies and processes that lead the way in engineering innovation.  The IET Young Woman Engineer Awards recognise and promote women in engineering and technology and encourage more women to join the profession.

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