On International Women in Engineering Day 2020, the School of Science and Engineering has launched a new and exciting mentoring scheme that pairs female Civil Engineering students with industry mentors to support and empower their transition through university and on to a career in the field.
Although rates of female students in the industry are increasing, the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers compared with the rest of the European Union (Engineering UK, 2018). The scheme aims to break down stereotypes, provide female students with confidence and contribute to a more diverse workplace.
The mentorship scheme provides both mentors and mentees with training from Equate Scotland, enabling an opportunity to build a strong relationship based on shared experiences, and help young women to find their place in an often male-dominated industry.
“At the University of Dundee, we are passionate about promoting engineering as a great career choice to women.” explains Dr Margi Vilnay, director for public engagement and outreach at the School of Science and Engineering and a lecturer in civil engineering, who initiated the scheme.
“Although engineering is an interesting and fulfilling career, there still remain barriers to women studying and entering the profession. Mentoring is a proven mechanism to give students a feeling of belonging, motivation, and confidence in engineering and greater engineering career aspirations.
“We are delighted to be celebrating International Women in Engineering Day by contributing to practical and positive change.”
Engineering professionals have signed up to act as mentors on the scheme with support from their companies. Companies supporting this venture include Millard, Shell, Robertson Construction, SSE, Jacobs, Scottish Water, Stantec, AECOM, Balfour Beatty and Thornton Tomasetti.
“It is great to see such a wide range of engineering companies engaging in the scheme. The mentors showcase the variety of civil engineering careers available, such as site managing, bridge design, offshore platform structural integrity and many more.” said Dr Moray Newlands, Associate Dean for Industrial Engagement.
Third year student Nyasha Mutembwa believes the scheme will be hugely beneficial to students.
“I have been waiting for an opportunity to work with and learn from women in the construction and engineering industry.
“This mentorship scheme is an excellent insight into the careers we, as female engineering students, look to join in the future, and so by connecting with likeminded women we are excited to see the ways they can encourage us to reach our potential.
“As students, we are determined to apply our theoretical understanding from our degrees in a practical setting, therefore look to those who can guide us in doing so. I am excited to develop my skills under these great women’s mentorship in the hopes of furthering my knowledge and shape my own future career path.”
Michelle Magee, an Offshore Structures Engineer with Shell UK believes strongly in giving people the support they need to succeed in their chosen fields.
“Mentoring is being able to share my experience and insights and to hopefully instil confidence in others to feel empowered to do the same. We are all on a learning journey no matter what stage we are at therefore the knowledge exchange achieved through mentoring is incredibly enriching and valuable to all involved.”
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