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Dame Wendy Hall leads new engineering diversity campaign

Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Professor Dame Wendy Hall

The Diversity in Engineering Campaign, being launched today (Thursday 15 January) by the Royal Academy of Engineering and led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall of ECS, aims to ensure that UK engineering blazes a trail to a diverse profession that will benefit from the skills of all sectors of society.

The Royal Academy of Engineering believes that many more engineers and scientists will be needed to provide the innovation needed to overcome the current economic recession, and recognizes that because of changes in the country’s demographics these engineers of the future will need to be drawn from different, non-traditional backgrounds, including:

•Women – who now make up over 45 per cent of the UK labour market, but make up fewer than 6 per cent of engineering professionals

•Ethnic minorities – 80 per cent of the ethnic minority population in the UK is aged 16 to 35, providing a significantly increasing proportion of the workforce in the future

•People with disabilities: around 18 per cent of the working population have a disability

Throughout her career Dame Wendy Hall has been a prominent and vocal advocate of women’s opportunities in science, engineering and technology: ‘It is vital for the UK that we recruit the brightest young people into engineering and science,’ she says, ‘including new talent from families and schools who might never have thought about engineering as a career.

‘The financial turmoil and the recession actually give us a huge opportunity to entice people who have studied engineering and science away from the City and back into innovating for the future, which is where they are badly needed.’

Dame Wendy will be speaking at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London this evening (Thursday 15 January), when hers will be one of three portraits (right) of ‘Inspirational Women Engineers’ being presented to the Academy by the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (science, engineering and Technology).

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 15 Jan 2009.