International Women in Engineering Day is celebrating its 9th year on June 23rd 2022. It's a movement that Morson is hugely passionate about which gives female engineers around the world a profile and a platform to encourage more young women and girls to take up engineering careers.
At Morson Projects’ annual conference, we sat two budding engineers from the University of Salford, both of whom are part of the Morson/Gerry Mason Scholarship Programme, with two of our qualified engineers to discuss career aspirations, industry challenges, hopes, dreams and how to encourage the next generation of women into engineering.
Ikram El Haddadi is a first-year aeronautical engineering student enrolled at the University of Salford through Morson’s Gerry Mason Scholarship. Sally Entwistle is an aerospace engineer with 14 years of experience working for Morson Projects.
At the Morson Projects annual conference and the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, Ikram and Sally sat down for a chat about how they found their engineering passion, diversity in the industry and more:
Ikram: So, who or what has been your has inspired you to become an engineer?
Sally: For me, I have to say it was my dad. My dad actually worked at Morson Projects for basically his whole career, and he was in the aerospace division too. And I think just as a child where we were surrounded by that kind of atmosphere and he used to have all the drawing boards set up at home, so we would like play on them and sketch on them. And it just gave me that bit of an interest, being exposed to the world of engineering. It’s been part of my life since a young age.
Ikram: What advice would you give me when I graduate?
Sally: I would probably say, go for whatever you want to go for. Don't be held back by anybody of what you feel other people perceive you as. Whatever you want to do, just go for it and do the best for yourself.
Ikram: 2022 figures state that just 16.5% of engineers are women, why do you think women are still hugely underrepresented in this profession?
Sally: Again, I think it come back to sort of exposure. I think many perceive engineering as the 'grey beard' industry and it's just not widely recognized out there. We need to get our opinions out there. We need to get into schools and showcase what engineering is really about, get into the depth, get people in businesses for work experience and just expose everyone to it.
Sally: What has been the highlight of your engineering degree so far?
Ikram: I think the struggles that I face with every single assignment and overcoming those struggles with the modules that I take. I just freeze when I have an assignment on and as I progress and learn from that and work towards bettering myself with them, I find satisfaction in that. So thus, that would be my highlight.
Sally: What do you feel your purpose is as an engineer?
Ikram: That's a very hard question. I'm not sure if it's whether to satisfy people or satisfy myself, but on the bigger scheme, I think it's for me is to understand complex matters and try to find a shortcut for them.
Sally: Well, that's what engineering is all about! How are you hoping to change the industry for the better?
Ikram: Everybody can dream, no? I think by small victories I would try to change the industry. Like, small gadgets and the small improvements I can make to other machines, which I try to make nowadays but doesn't really work! I'm just trying to find that pathway. But I'm just trying to go little by little to try to improve the industry.
In part 2 of our series, we spoke to Ayisha, an aeronautical engineering graduate about to embark on a graduate scheme, and Anna, who works as an aerospace engineer at Morson Projects, about their shared experiences of being a woman in engineering. Click here to watch their interview.