By Emma Kent
Last week (6 – 10 November 2017) was Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is designed to help address the fact that 186,000 people with engineering skills will be needed, annually, through to 2024, so we need to do something major to inspire the next generation of engineers.
During Tomorrow’s Engineers week, members of WES (the Women’s Engineering Society) organised a tour for Lottie, to help show that any girl can be an engineer. Lottie dolls have sought to fill a gap in the toy market with their real-life child proportions and their ambition to disrupt gender stereotypes. As a keen proponent of women in engineering and a member of WES, I decided to take up the challenge of sharing a photo every day of my Lottie doll (Lottie the Brownie Guide) doing an engineering related task as she accompanied me on my week at work.
I knew I needed to think of interesting and fun things for Lottie to do, which convey the variety and interest that engineering offers as a career choice. We had a lot of fun trying to think of things for Lottie to do in my team – but some of the other “Lotties on tour” beat me to it with their ideas for photo opportunities (I liked this photo of Lottie using an AR headset). It turns out that it can be a bit of a challenge to find suitably visually impactful engineering tasks for Lottie to carry out when much of our work involves computer modelling and calculations!
However, with the help of the Cundall team, Lottie:
- Did some acoustic monitoring of building services plant, developing her understanding of how engineers can help create a better environment, with improved occupant satisfaction
- Learnt how to create a finite element model of a structure to analyse the loads and forces on part of a building, enabling engineers to design an efficient and aesthetically pleasing structure
- Read the Royal Academy of Engineering’s “Engineering a better world” report, which explores how engineering can drive progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (she focussed on the section about empowering women to reach society’s full potential)
- Visited a Cundall project on site to inspect the temporary works and demolition of the façade
- Undertook some hand sketches, because communication of engineering concepts is often very visual and good sketching skills come in handy in meetings and on site
- Got up close and personal with our green moss wall, which contributes to the biophilic engineering design in our office, improving the health and wellbeing of our staff
So, she really got a taste of lots of different aspects of engineering across our design consultancy.
I was really impressed by the wide variety of engineering task that my Lottie and the other Lotties took part in during Tomorrow’s Engineers week. The process of thinking about what we could get Lottie to do made me consider more carefully how others perceive engineering careers and what we do on a daily basis.
If you want to get inspired by Lottie and her pals then check out the hashtag #LottieTour on Twitter. Why not show it to your daughter and see if she might be interested in a career in engineering?