Precision engineer Renishaw specialises in optimizing operational performance, but not just of machines. Their dedication to augmenting the capabilities of the young people that join them as apprentices and graduates has been central to their ethos since the outset of The 5% Club.
As a FTSE 250 group, Renishaw makes high-precision measurement and motion-control instruments, is built on innovation and efficiency, and produce products used for diverse applications from medical diagnostics to machine tool automation. The people that join them are just as diverse, precise and skilled.
The fact that one of their project managers, Lucy Ackland, has been awarded the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize 2014 at the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year ceremony only proves their dedication.
Lucy Ackland, who now works on Renishaw’s next generation metal 3D printing machine, joined their team at age sixteen. She began by undertaking a year’s offsite training where she completed a number of NVQs and started a national certificate in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, she then worked in the machine shop in her second year, moving on to complete a foundation degree in mechatronic engineering. Now twenty-seven, she has completed a first-class engineering honours degree, created and run a team of process development engineers responsible for the design, development and manufacture of test rigs, and spent a huge amount of time encouraging young people into engineering.
Encouraging young people to consider engineering as a degree is central to her award, which is given each year to a young female engineer who is able to engage and inspire young people’s involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
To do this, Lucy became STEM ambassador, ran technology teardowns, set and organised activities with local schools, gave talks, ran seminars, helped with after school engineering clubs, judged and moderated STEM club projects and volunteered with Young Engineers.
Her incredible work deserves the recognition received and honoured by the WES Prize in 2014.
Lucy said: “I’m so happy to have won this award – it means a lot to be recognised for the work I do in a really exciting, upcoming industry. I’m pleased to be considered a role model for future generations of female engineers because I believe engineering is a really enjoyable career choice but sometimes people are put off by misleading stereotypes.”
Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a very significant problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy. The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half of its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry. It also means that women are losing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities.”
She continued: “The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of things: from the careers advice girls are given in schools, to schools not instilling girls with the confidence to opt for science and maths at A-level, through to employers needing to do more to make their approach to recruitment and retention more female friendly. But it’s also a result of the lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls – which is where our Young Woman Engineer of the Year winners can play a vital role.”
Dawn Bonfield, WES President, said: “The Women’s Engineering Society is delighted that this award goes to Lucy Ackland, who has already done an enormous amount to engage and inspire the next generation of female engineers. We are looking forward to working with Lucy this year to do even more for young people, and crucially their parents, in changing stereotypes of the engineering sector and especially of the apprenticeship route into engineering. Congratulations Lucy.”
Chris Pockett, Renishaw’s Head of Communications, said: “We are very proud of what Lucy has already achieved during her engineering career with Renishaw and her tireless work, often in her own time, to promote STEM-based careers to young people. The WES Prize is fantastic national recognition of this work and we know that she will continue to be a great ambassador for the engineering sector over the coming years.”
With people like Lucy leading the way, companies like Renishaw become stronger. It is the wonderful mixture of dedication on the part of the apprentice and power of the apprenticeship that truly emphasises why The 5% Club exists: to invest in the future of Britain.
To find out more about Renishaw and the opportunities they offer, please visit their website: http://www.renishaw.com