Press release

Rolls Royce apprentice receives prestigious award at Young Woman Engineer of the Year ceremony

06 December 2013


A higher apprentice from Lancashire has been announced as the winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Mary George Prize for Apprentices.

Twenty one year-old Sara Underwood 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.

She works on process, quality and product improvements to help cut time and costs to the business. Sara’s apprenticeship has given her the opportunity to develop her knowledge academically through her HNC in Manufacturing Engineering, whilst allowing her to put her learning into practice in a corporate environment.  

She considers herself to be a STEM ambassador and is involved in helping to promote apprenticeships to young people.

The Mary George Prize for Apprentices is part of the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards. Now in its 37th year, these 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.

Sara joined five other finalists at The Pullman Hotel, London St. Pancras where she was named the winner of the award, walking away with a trophy and cheque for £750. As the winner of this award, Sara will become an ambassador for the profession, encouraging more females to consider engineering as a career.

Barry Brooks, IET President said: “Sara is a worthy recipient of the IET Mary George Prize for Apprentices Award.  She has demonstrated her commitment to develop her career with some challenging work, combined with outreach work to encourage the next generation.   She should be very proud of her achievements to date.  She is a fantastic role model to all young people thinking of a career in engineering and technology.”

The Mary George Prize for Apprentices is part of the IET’s Inspiring Engineering Excellence 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. All of the awards seek to inspire engineering excellence, right from apprentices and technicians at the start of their careers through to highly established professionals.

Sara Underwood, Higher Apprentice at Rolls Royce Plc in Lancashire said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have received this award and it’s a real testament to the hard work I’ve put into my role at Rolls Royce.
“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 mean the industry can continue to invest in the talents of female apprentice engineers for years to come.”

Katherine Hammond, Professional Development Advisor, from Atkins, which is a sponsor of the IET YWE awards programme said:  "The Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards scheme is a particularly special scheme because it acknowledges the significant impact that young women are having on engineering businesses through boosting productivity and enhancing the skills base. There simply aren’t enough female engineers in the UK and tonight’s winners show just how diverse and interesting a career in engineering can be. Congratulations to Sara on picking up the Mary George Prize of Apprentices – what an achievement.”

The headline sponsors for YWE 2013 include; BP, GCHQ, Intel, Ofcom, Royal Air Force, UKAPE, Virgin Media and Shell.

Media enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers and technicians.  We have nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries around the world.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world. We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community, supporting technology innovation to meet the needs of society.
  • The IET is the Professional Home for Life® for engineers and technicians, and a trusted source of Essential Engineering Intelligence® and thought leadership.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.