25th June 2024

#Enhancedbyengineers: “If you can see it, you can be it” 


Earlier this month, the world marked International Women in Engineering Day, with this year’s theme recognising how people’s lives are ‘enhanced by engineers’. 

INWED is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the amazing work that our engineers, and engineers worldwide, are doing to make people’s lives happier and healthier, and to build a better and more sustainable future.  

But it’s also a vitally important waypoint to call attention to the barriers that still exist in the industry and discuss what more needs to be done to make our world and the built environment more equal, diverse and inclusive. 

This week we’re hearing perspectives across our team, with Hannah Keighley, associate in our Leeds studio, next up: 

Hannah: “A lot of the issues that our industry faces in relation to skills shortages come down for visibility. If you can see it, you can be it. Engineering is marred with the perception that it’s a career for a certain demographic, and while multi-disciplinary teams are getting more diverse, there’s still so much more to be done.

“We must focus on promoting the many brilliant opportunities and career pathways on offer more widely. People think you must have a degree to be an engineer, but that’s by no means the only route into the industry.

“The best engineers are those that are communicative and collaborative. We operate in teams and we really value people who can bring a mix of skills and specialisms to the table. Diverse perspectives are essential for creating places, spaces and buildings that work for the people and communities who ultimately use them.

“One of my proudest moments as an engineer was taking part in the WOW – Women of the World Festival, which saw our team become ‘barn raisers’ in a live 24-hour challenge that built a creative space for women, girls and non-binary people. The way it engaged the community and people was incredibly powerful. It’s something I’d never seen before.

“For some people, at school, practical lessons like metalwork or woodwork weren’t offered to everyone in the same way. That’s why the barn raise was such an eye opener to everyone who took part, it showed there’s no reason why women can’t do it. The team behind the event went the extra mile to make it accessible and inclusive, which is why it was so successful. People could get there by any means and there was support for people with disabilities. Removing blockers has a hugely positive impact.”

#Enhancedbyengineers: “If you can see it, you can be it”