Transport for London (TfL) is profiling a number of its engineers across the Tube network with inspirational messages about why they got into the profession to mark International Women in Engineering Day (23 June). Customers will be able to see them at Canning Town, Cannon Street and Loughton Tube stations, as they make their journeys through the capital.
The vinyl displays are part of the Year of Engineering campaign, which is led by the Department for Transport and taking place over the course of 2018. The displays and campaign aim to debunk some of the myths around the profession, including it being a ‘profession for men’, and to inspire the next generation of engineers. It is incredibly important that more people are brought into engineering roles as it is anticipated that there will be a shortfall of more than 55,000 people equipped to work in transport infrastructure by 2020. Moreover, research shows that having a diverse workforce is vital for any organisation as it increases levels of innovation, safety and performance.
There is a particular lack of women in the engineering sector. According to Engineering UK in their State of Engineering report, only 12 per cent of those working in core and related engineering roles are women. Research also shows that at every age boys are far more likely than girls to consider a career in engineering. Through the displays showcasing the range of female engineering talent at TfL, girls, and women looking for a change of career, will be able to read the tips and be inspired to consider engineering as a profession.
Mesghana Habteab, who is featured in the campaign and works as an engineer improving the reliability and performance of the Central line, said:
“I love being an engineer because I love tackling challenges. Many people think that they can’t become an engineer because they don’t have the right qualifications. However, there are many routes to becoming an engineer, such as applying for an apprenticeship. I joined the industry, despite taking A Levels in the Arts and Humanities, by completing a foundation course. Sometimes there may appear to be barriers to your aspirations, but you can find ways to overcome them.”
Helen Gregory, who is also featured in the campaign and works as an Assistant Project Manager supporting the modernisation of the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, said:
“Engineering is such as exciting industry to work in. More women should be considering it as a potential path for them because as an engineer you can you can walk past a building or a bridge or a road and think ‘I was part of the team that delivered this’. You get to make a difference to people’s everyday lives.”
Helena Garrick, one of the engineers featured in the campaign who designs our traffic systems, said:
“When I was at school I never considered a career in engineering as I never really knew what it was. I always liked problem solving and design. Engineering has allowed me to combine these skills, working on exciting projects, while making a difference to the landscape of London.”
This showcasing of talents also coincides with the Mayor of London’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, which champions the fact that it is the achievements and contributions of women, from all walks of life, that make cities like London great. It coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the vote, and was introduced thanks to the campaigning of suffragists and suffragettes.