The UK has an acute shortage of engineers and, according to Engineering UK, needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025 – particularly women. And the sector and government are working hard to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives and apprenticeship programmes to attract more young people from all backgrounds, and show them the difference they can make if they choose an engineering career.
The theme of this year’s “This is Engineering Day,” on Nov. 4, 2020, is “Be the Difference.” The awareness campaign aims to shine light on all the ways that engineering shapes the world for the better. At Raytheon UK, three female engineers show how they personally strive to inspire the next generation.
Rosie: Supporting STEM
Rosie was an administrative assistant. Then she swapped her office garb for a pair of blue overalls and took a job as an aeronautical mechanical fitter apprentice in Raytheon UK’s Space and Airborne business.
“My day job involves assisting with aircraft modifications and maintenance,” said Rosie. In her third and final year, she recently completed a National Vocational Qualification Level 3 Extended Diploma, and a Business and Technology Education Council Level 3 Diploma, both in Aerospace Engineering, which she says will “support the practical aspects” of her job.
She also volunteers as one of Raytheon UK’s STEM ambassadors, going to schools and events around the country to promote engineering careers and opportunities and encourage young women to consider roles in the industry. She recently spoke at the Women in Aerospace and Defence Summit about her work experiences.
Last month, Rosie finished first runner-up in the final year category of the Welsh Engineering Apprentice of the Year competition run by Make UK. The category focuses on apprentices who have done the most to seize the training and development opportunities presented to them during the final year of their engineering apprenticeship programme.
“I feel very honoured to receive this recognition,” said Rosie, “and it will be great in 10 years’ time if I see the young girls in the schools I’ve visited coming through the apprenticeship programme and following in my footsteps.”
Stacey: Championing future skills
Stacey, a Raytheon UK lead engineer, has led many successful innovation projects that have steered her steady progression. One of the most gratifying, she said, was the development and redesign of two Raytheon UK telemetry programmes for customer flight trials, providing a more robust and reliable capability.
“Both these programmes were technically challenging and involved organising a lot of moving parts against tight timescales in order to manufacture and test the hardware assets on time to meet customer trial dates in the U.S and UK,” she said. “Successfully executing these programmes was a huge sense of personal achievement.”
Like Rosie, Stacey is passionate about championing future engineering skills for the industry. An adult volunteer with the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, or RAFAC, since 2012, she now holds the rank of flight lieutenant RAFAC and the position of officer commanding 1372 (Elstree & Borehamwood) Squadron ATC and deputy sector commander of Sector 6. Stacey also represents Raytheon UK at the Air Cadet Industry and Business Forum and is a STEM Ambassador.
“If I hadn't joined the RAFAC at aged 14, I would not have had the exposure to the military/aerospace industry that showed me what other options were out there for a career, and I would not be doing this job now that I absolutely love,” said Stacey. “We need to support developing that interest from a young age so that young people can imagine a careers like ours, and gain support and opportunities to develop the skills to get there.”
Julie: Leading by example
Julie, the coordinating design organisation support engineer at Raytheon UK’s Broughton site, is responsible for coordinating all modifications from all design organisations on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
Her job is to improve customer service through cost-effective technology and procedures. When a customer orders a modification to aircraft, she is the first point of contact.
“I can advise very quickly whether the proposed solution is viable without going through the whole task authorisation form process, which is how the customer tasks us to carry out work in addition to the long term support contract. This saves time and money on both sides,” said Julie
Julie was also influential in the creation of the in-service support team that answers technical queries from frontline operators expediently in order to optimise fleet availability.
These three Raytheon UK women say they are dedicated to transforming the image of engineering, while ensuring that the company has the best solutions its customers need to safeguard our future.