Let's hear it for the girls! International Women in Engineering Day, 23rd June 2019

23rd June is International Women in Engineering Day, which takes place annually to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the incredible career opportunities available to young women in this exciting industry. This year’s theme is #TransformTheFuture.

We have three amazing young female Engineering Apprentices working with us as Apprenticeship Ambassadors, helping to raise awareness of both Engineering and Apprenticeships by sharing their experiences with school students as they consider their career options. Find out how Emma, K-Jo & Katherine are going the extra mile to raise awareness of what they do and why Engineering is so great…

Emma Hancock

Emma is an Apprentice Software Engineer with the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in Didcot. She is in her second year of a Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.

As part of her Apprenticeship, Emma rotates through different departments in the organisation every six months. Throughout these rotations, her roles and responsibilities will vary slightly, meaning that she will have to adapt to new environments and roles and that she works with a wide range of different technologies. Some of her jobs range from updating websites, to helping to write the code for Large Pixel Detector Systems.

Emma says: “From a technical point of view I believe I have learnt the most in the fundamental computer programming languages like using Python, Java and C#. The coolest thing about my job is that the work we do contributes to major scientific advancements that take place on and off our site. I have gained so much knowledge in software engineering, as well as organisation, communication and time management skills.”


Read more about Emma.

K-Jo O’Flynn

K-Jo O’Flynn is a MAIT (Maintenance, Assembling, Integrating and Test) Technician with Oxford Space Systems. She assembles deployable, mechatronic structures for satellites using novel materials and items, such as, carbon fibre and various custom manufactured pieces. In addition to supporting engineers with different tests, K-Jo has to follow step by step project plans and engineering drawings for assembling antennas, booms and other various technologies for space.

At only 17 and in Year 2 of her Apprenticeship, K-Jo was selected as part of the engineering team to assemble a significant company project, showing how valued and trusted she is by her employer.

K-Jo says: “I have personally benefited from this Apprenticeship in remarkable ways. From not having an engineering background to now having the opportunity to work not only with top engineers, but also with machines such as lathes and mills. I can now understand the engineering language well and how technology is developed for space. And overall, I feel I am contributing engineering ideas and knowledge to the company.”

“I was very fortunate to take part in the UK Space Agency online competition called, “I’m an Engineer – Get Me Out of Here!” The competition – and winning it! - helped me encourage and motivate young people to look at the engineering world and the amazing opportunities available. It encouraged me to help young people not to be fearful of looking for future options in the engineering field.”


Read more about K-Jo in her 'I'm an Engineer' profile.

Katherine Mordecai

Katherine is a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice with the Science & Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. She started her Apprenticeship in September 2015 after completing GCSEs at Burford School.

The opportunity to work abroad as part of her Apprenticeship appealed to Katherine, as did the chance to gain work experience through working on exciting projects in a variety of placements across the site, experiencing different environments and learning from expert colleagues. Katherine has gained practical knowledge and hand skills - such as machining and welding - through an NVQ Level 3, whilst also developing her academic knowledge through a BTEC Level 3 and HNC.

As an Apprenticeship Ambassador, Katherine has given talks at her former school and attended careers events across the county to help raise awareness of the opportunities to gain higher level qualifications and invaluable work experience that an Engineering Apprenticeship can offer.

Katherine’s advice for other young women considering a career in engineering is: “Never stop believing that you can do engineering and go and see/look around some engineering places to get an idea of what it is all about. Never let just one person put you off a career in engineering as their experiences may be nothing like yours.”


Read more about Katherine.

Go girls!

It’s fantastic to see such amazing and successful female Engineering Apprentices ‘transforming the future’ and encouraging other young women in Oxfordshire to consider a career in Engineering. What wonderful role models!

Find out more about International Women in Engineering Day at: www.inwed.org.uk and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #INWED19 and #TransformTheFuture.