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Outstanding women celebrated nationally at Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards

Three young women engineers have been recognised at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards for their work in engineering.

IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices: Lauren Smith (22) is a Trainee Medical Engineer at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust. Lauren is part of a team that ensures the proper function of medical devices within the healthcare setting and works to support the needs of clinical staff by repairing and managing the devices they rely on daily to diagnose, treat and monitor patients.

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Ama Frimpong (33) is Head of Product Development at 52 North Health. Ama manages the company’s engineering teams in the development of NeutroCheck, which is a low-cost, portable device that helps identify people living with cancer who are at risk of neutropenic sepsis – a life-threatening medical emergency occurring in immunosuppressed chemotherapy patients.

Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize: Eneni Bambara-Abban (29) is a Robotics Engineer and the founder of two organisations, the Techover Foundation and Anime and Chill. The Techover Foundation is an international NGO that focuses on encouraging, educating and supporting individuals from underserved communities into technology. Anime and Chill is a safe and inclusive community of people interested in anime and/or gaming to come together and network irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or race.

On winning, Ama said: “Wow! I feel truly honoured to be named the IET’s 2022 Young Woman Engineer of the Year, joining a line-up of incredible women who have come before me. As someone who has a passion for all things STEM, it’s amazing to have my work in medicine and healthcare recognised by leaders from across the industry.

“Growing up, I didn’t see any women engineers that looked like me, but thanks to the YWE awards, girls growing up today will see that there is a place in the exciting world of engineering for them. I want to use this platform to make a difference and encourage and inspire the engineers of tomorrow to change the world.”

Finalists Constance Rudman and Veena Kumari were both highly commended. All winners and finalists will play an ambassadorial role for the engineering and technology professions in the forthcoming months, promoting engineering careers to more girls and young people.

Now in its fourth year, the Gender Diversity Ambassador Award, which recognises an individual’s hard work in achieving gender equality within the engineering industry, was awarded to Lynn Tomkins. This lifetime achievement award aims to showcase innovation and good practice to compliment the YWE Awards, by recognising the support and encouragement of women in STEM careers.

For more than 30 years, Lynn has championed equality and worked to ensure everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their true potential. Operating in the skills environment in senior roles for most of her career has seen Lynn work closely with government, industry and key stakeholders at the highest level. As Co-Founder, Director and then latterly Chair of Trustees of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), Lynn has supported the UKESF in developing a leading industrial scholarship programme, building greater connections between universities and industry.

The IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards celebrate women working in modern engineering – and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and dirty overalls.

As well as highlighting the talent of women engineers, the awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Just 16.5 per cent of those working in engineering occupations are women (source: Engineering UK).

Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IET, said: “Engineers must develop products and services for everyone, but with women making up just 16.5% of the sector’s workforce, how can we ensure diversity of thought and innovation in order to create the right solutions for everyone? Awards like this are crucial for raising the profile of women within engineering and providing real-life role models to younger generations to encourage greater diversity within the industry.

“I’d like to congratulate our fantastic winners and finalists of this year’s awards. They are a real credit to the engineering profession and make excellent role models to young girls who might be thinking about a career in engineering and technology.

“It’s vital we champion engineering careers to the next generation – it’s a diverse, creative and exciting career, which offers the opportunity to change lives, or even the world.”

The winners were announced at the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony on 1 December at IET London: Savoy Place.

This year’s YWE Awards were sponsored by Alstom, Boeing, Capgemini Engineering, Collins Aerospace, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, GCHQ, Leonardo, MBDA, Northrop Grumman, Ofcom, Rolls Royce, Royal Air Force, Royal Mail, RS Components Grass Roots, Teledyne and Thales.

To find out more information, please visit www.theiet.org/ywe.