The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is launching an outstanding woman award to mark the anniversary of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES)
BESA believes engineering professions in general – and building engineering in particular – will not be able to meet future business goals without a far more gender diverse workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics, just 12% of British engineers are women and BESA is backing a WES initiative to raise that figure to 30% by 2030.
Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering also show that 20,000 additional graduate and higher-level apprentices will be needed every year between now and 2024 to meet predicted demand.
BESA chief executive David Frise, said: “Creating more career opportunities for women in engineering is not just the right thing to do – it is better for our businesses
“There is plenty of evidence to show that the most successful companies are those with the most diverse workforces – and how successful can we possibly be if we are, effectively, ignoring 50% of the population.”
Nominations for the BESA Outstanding Woman in Building Engineer Services award are invited via the association’s website and the winner will be honoured at the BESA National Conference and Awards event at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London on 21 November.
The Outstanding Woman award, which will be presented by WES chief executive officer Elizabeth Donnelly, will recognise a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to engineering in the built environment and is a fitting role model for women in the building engineering workforce.
Donnelly commented: “There has never been a better time for parents to encourage their girls to embark on a career in engineering.
“The career potential has never been greater because, alongside a very real skills shortage, there is growing understanding of the positive way women are contributing to this male-dominated sector.”
She added that it was high time engineering closed the diversity gap on other industry sectors and that role models would play a crucial role in encouraging women – particularly young women – to enter male-dominated fields like building engineering services.
“With women reaching the very top in politics; emergency services; healthcare and business – why not engineering?” she said.
The new Outstanding Woman award will build on the success of women like Joanna Robinson, managing director of Mansfield Pollard. As well as running a large, international business, Joanna is chair of BESA’s Ventilation Group.
“A large part of my work with BESA is to promote women in engineering, and am committed to empowering the next generation of female engineers – highlighting the potential career opportunities in manufacturing and engineering,” she said.