27 January 2014
Local MP Peter Lilley got the VIP treatment on Friday (24 January) when he was treated to a tour and update of an award-winning young female engineer’s work on Europe’s first Rover Mission to Mars.
Abbie Hutty, 26-year-old from Hitchin, is a Spacecraft Structures Engineer on the ExoMars Rover mission at Airbus Defence & Space in Stevenage.
During the visit, the Mr Lilley congratulated Abbie on her recent success in being announced as the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year. The award seeks 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.
In her day job, Abbie works with a team of engineers to develop a rover structure that will survive the rigours of a rocket launch before landing on the surface of the Red Planet. Her role covers all aspects of the design lifecycle, from concept design through to manufacturing, and ultimately to testing and final delivery.
Stephanie Fernandes, IET Principal Policy Advisor, said: “The engineering sector faces a skills shortage, one of the reasons for which is a lack of young people, particularly females, entering the profession. As the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, Abbie is a fantastic role model and her work highlights just how exciting and rewarding a job in engineering can be.”
Abbie said: “Engineering was the ideal career choice for me as it combines two things I have always enjoyed; the challenge of finding solutions to technical problems, and the buzz of designing something and seeing it made into reality.
“Whilst engineering has historically been less popular as a career choice for women, the tide is definitely turning. Many more young women are entering the field, and finding a diverse and fulfilling profession in which they can excel. Gradually we will get to the point where being a woman in engineering is no longer remarkable, just as we have with medicine."
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said: “Abbie is a fantastic ambassador for a career in engineering. As a nation we need to attract all the talented potential engineers – particularly young women who at present wrongly assume this is not a career for them - into this exciting and vital profession.”