Press release

Space engineer named Young Woman Engineer of the Year

06 December 2013

A space engineer from Hertfordshire has been announced as the winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award.

26-year-old Abbie Hutty from Hitchin is a Spacecraft Structures Engineer at Astrium and is currently working on the ExoMars Rover mission, Europe’s first Rover Mission to Mars. She holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Surrey, where she graduated first in her class.

Abbie was picked as the winner from a group of five other high calibre finalists. Her commitment to outreach and the public promotion of engineering also includes working as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) ambassador, mentor, and promoter of women in engineering roles.

In her day job, Abbie co-ordinates a team of specialists who aim to achieve 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.

Now in its 37th year, the award honours the very best young female engineers working in the UK, and 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.

The young engineer joined five other finalists at The Pullman Hotel, London St. Pancras where she was named the overall winner, walking away with a trophy and cheque for £2,500. As the winner of the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year award, Abbie will become an ambassador for the profession, encouraging more females to consider engineering as a career.

Barry Brooks, IET President said: “Abbie is a worthy recipient of the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 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 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award 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 our awards seek to inspire engineering excellence, right from apprentices and technicians at the start of their careers through to highly established professionals.

Karen Lomas, Director of Smart Cities EMEA from Intel, 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 and last night’s winners show just how diverse and interesting a career in engineering can be! Congratulations to Abbie on picking up the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award – a great achievement.”

Abbie Hutty, Spacecraft Structures Engineer, Astrium 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.”

The event was hosted by Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science at University of Birmingham.

Alice said, “I’m incredibly impressed with all the finalists and it’s clear that they are already doing a fine job of raising the profile of not only women in engineering but engineering in general.

“I honestly think that if I was still at school, considering my career plans and was to meet one of these girls, I would have picked a career in engineering.”

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 engineering intelligence and thought leadership.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org