This week in honor of International Women in Engineering Day, June 23, 2021, companies are acknowledging the day by celebrating their engineering women and continuing to support training and recruitment programs for women.
Around the globe, the Maxon women in engineering are working on motion control applications with their customers; they focus on new product designs to implement the latest technologies; and they continue to research new concepts and ideas for drive systems to be used in motion control applications found in medical, industrial automation, aerospace and defense, and mobility industries.
Maxon says all of these women are making a difference in the organization and in the industry. These women help define and recognize a problem or challenge and then work to be part of the solution. Some examples include: Virginie Mialane, who worked on the development of the first active motorized implant for gastric banding—a device dedicated to the pathology of obesity.
Another is Hannah Kleeblatt, who works as a Maxon quality engineer. She says that sometimes unconventional solutions have to be embraced. Like the time she inspected internal gear flanges for NASA Mars gearheads—millimeter by millimeter with an endoscope that was acquired from a nearby medical company.
Petra Marek focuses on digital technology and embedded software. With her experience in development of motor controller software, Petra implemented her know-how with an automated test system at Maxon.
Maxon says these are only a few of the many women in engineering making a difference. “We congratulate them all and celebrate their achievements,” the release says.
Maxon also recognizes the importance to continuously promote interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). These programs help encourage many young women to seek opportunities in engineering and science fields.
Maxon asked its female engineers what could be done to encourage more young women to become engineers, and this is what some of them had to say:
Sandra Dettling says, “Young women need to see other women in the challenging engineering world. Only then can they see what can be achieved.”
“Take the risk, ask the questions, be confident and do not let other people’s judgement hinder your growth,” says Angelica Perzan.
Workforce of women
According to a recent survey, just 29% of the UK’s manufacturing and engineering workforce is made up of women. Now, while this highlights a step in the right direction when compared to figures from previous years, leading multi-disciplinary engineering firm, Adi Group, believes more must be done to secure the industry’s workforce for tomorrow.
And with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continuing to present challenges and cause shifts for organizations and employees alike, Adi Group welcomes this year’s Women in Engineering Day theme, “Engineering Heroes,” as a chance to celebrate its contributions thus far, as well as set the tone for the industry moving forward.
James Sopwith, group strategic account director, explains the progress: “At Adi Group, we are continuing to make it our mission to ensure that women in engineering is the norm. Some of our most talented engineers are women and that alone is a cause to celebrate.
“We now live in a world where women can do just as good a job as a man, and we shouldn’t be seeing or hearing about any woman, or anybody for that matter, experiencing discrimination or inequality.”
With that in mind, Adi Group provide accessible educational programs for young girls seeking a career in the field. The firm now offers two apprenticeship programs, a Pre-Apprenticeship Scheme and the Apprentice Academy, helping the younger generation become the engineers of tomorrow.
As part of its 2018 intake, Adi welcomed its first female trade apprentice, Abbie Beaver, who now works as a mechanical engineer.
Beginning her career in fabrication and welding, Beaver was one of the youngest people in the workplace and has continued to have a positive impact on both the business and aspiring female engineers.
So much so that she was previously recognized as one of the Women’s Engineering Society’s top 50 women engineers in the UK. Now, Beaver hopes to inspire other young girls and women to pursue a career in the field.
She said, “We grow up constrained to the idea that engineering is a man’s job. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many opportunities to grow both personally and professionally within the field, which women are just as capable of pursuing.
“I think it all comes down to debunking any myths and false perceptions early on in our education, which is why I am a strong advocate of the company’s apprenticeship opportunities. They enabled me to see to the reality of life as an engineer, which was far from the oily rags and labor-intensive images I had in my head. Thanks to this opportunity, I am now a qualified mechanical engineer who loves what I do.
“I would highly recommend the job, and in particular the apprenticeship scheme, to any girl out there.”
Beaver isn’t the only success story to come from the firm’s commitment to the industry’s inclusive future either. In fact, Caitlyn Kett-Davies, another apprentice taken on through Adi’s educational scheme, is playing an instrumental role in the automotive wing of the business, working with household names across the country with the approval process of their equipment.
Similarly, Melissa Britchford, works for Adi Group as a test and inspection engineer. With numerous years of experience as a female in the field, Britchford has some advice to offer prospective talent.
“A career in engineering can be incredibly rewarding, but you do need to have thick skin. The job is still seen as something only men do by society, so site visits can sometimes evoke unpleasant comments from people who don’t think you belong or know what you are doing.
“However, with Adi’s full support when it comes to training and development, you know you can always look forward to that feeling of satisfaction once you prove these people wrong by getting the job done—and to a high standard at that.
“There are also many aspects of the role where being female works in our favor. For example, I have worked on projects for vulnerable women, who appreciate having a female they can call on, as well as others where my smaller body frame has enabled me to get into spaces an average sized man couldn’t.
“So, like most roles, there are pros and cons, but don’t let the false belief that engineering is a man’s job stop you from pursuing a career in the field,” Britchford says.
A more feminine future
Adi hopes that by celebrating the success of its female engineers of the present, it can set the tone for the industry going forward. Fortunately, there is demand in the field when it comes to jobs; however, its skills gap is no secret.
Sopwith explains, “With the STEM skills gap looming over us, Adi’s apprenticeship programs are a step toward securing a sustainable future for the industry. However, if more focus isn’t given to female careers, we are essentially, missing half of the potential pool of talent. And this will only delay any headway we have made with attempting to close the gap.”