WATCH: International Women in Engineering Day 2022

International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated each year on June 23rd to help raise the profile of women in the industry and focuses attention on the great career opportunities available. The theme for 2022 is Inventors and Innovators.  #INWED22  #ImagineTheFuture

At Wardell Armstrong, we are engaged with schools and STEM groups to provide a positive insight into the benefits to young women and men studying sciences and engineering. We are also actively engaged with a number of graduate programmes with the same objectives in mind.

Some of our female engineers share their insights and experiences from within the industry and why they enjoy their career in engineering:


Emma Keegan is an Associate Director at our Head Office in Stoke. “I chose a career in the engineering sector because I love solving problems through assessment, analysis and design and I’m always up for a challenge! I work in the civil engineering sector, primarily trying to solve problems relating to flood risk and drainage, a challenge that is becoming increasingly apparent and important with the predicted effects of climate change. I have been lucky enough to be involved in high-profile construction projects such as HS2 where challenges are met on a day-to-basis, requiring quick thinking and problem solving; through to longer-term master-planning and small-scale residential schemes requiring sustainable drainage strategies that are robust enough to mitigate the effects of climate change in years to come.”

“What inspired me most to study Geology and later work in the Ground Engineering sector, was the problem solving and innovation needed.” says Senior Geoenvironmental Consultant  Sophie Metcalf, who works as part of the ground engineering team in our Newcastle office. “Geologists and Engineers are quite often ‘Jack of all trades’ kind of people and this stems from a naturally innovative outlook on the world. Whether it be, understanding earth systems, problem solving on site or assessing complex risks associated with a particular project, Engineers will always strive to find a solution. I am surrounded day to day by amazing innovators, who inspire me to keep learning and problem solving.”

“I was inspired to choose a career in engineering because of my perception of an engineer as someone who provides solutions that improve and shape people’s lives.” says Engineer Adriana Garcia, who works as part of the civil engineering team in our Birmingham office. “However, I was taken by surprise by the lack of awareness in UK society about the role of civil engineering. A consequence of this is that many are unaware that civil engineering is such a broad profession. My message to young women and men is that this is a profession that combines creativity, science, mathematics, sustainability and management in a range of ways. Therefore, it can accommodate a diversity of personalities, preferences and inclinations.”

Naomi Lee is a Technical Director in our Geotechnical Engineering team in Stoke, her main focus is on mining geotechnics and tailings dam design. “One of my idols is the amazing Hedy Lamarr. Not only was she one of Hollywood’s golden age stars but she help invent and develop the science behind what has become Wi-FI, GPS and Bluetooth technology.  Proving that ‘engineers’ and inventors come in all shapes, sizes and appearances and that engineering and the arts can go hand and hand.  We should never judge a book by its cover!”

Regional Director, Louise Dow leads a multidisciplinary team of consultants in our Cardiff office, where she enjoys a variety of technical work, developing business and building relationships. But it was a fascination with earth sciences from a young age that encouraged Louise to follow an education in Geology and to follow the career she has now; “There are so many female pioneers in the field of earth sciences and the two most famous and earliest that I read about growing up were Mary Anning and Etheldred Benett. Both were remarkable women spanning the 18th and 19th Centuries who took geological knowledge forward in a time when they were not recognised for their valuable pioneering work and there was limited access to a professional education for women. Nowadays, schools, industry and employers are better engaged at bridging the gaps between learning and careers and I am passionate about promoting women in STEM career opportunities, and have recently become a STEM Ambassador and hope to inspire young girls and women to study and pursue careers in STEM fields and to become part of the next generation of innovative and inventive thinkers.”

“What I enjoy about ground engineering is seeing a project through from start to finish.” says Technical Director and lead for Ground Engineering in our Birmingham office, Samantha Nevitt. “It may begin with a site walkover, then design and supervision of the ground investigation through to producing an interpretative report and detailed foundation design. It’s a nice feeling walking past a structure or part of a highway with a companion telling them that you were involved in the construction of that development. Sarah Guppy is the female inventor I most admire as  she was the first woman to patent a bridge in 1811 which led to the creation of Clifton and Menai Suspension Bridges whereby she gave Brunel and Telford permission to use her design.”

Bethany Cleaver graduated with a Geology and Geoscience degree in 2019 and is now Mineral Surveyor in our Stoke office. “The female inventor, in the field of geology, who inspires me is Inge Lehmann. She was a Danish seismologist during the early 20th century, and she discovered that the Earth has a solid inner core, by using seismic wave data. She inspires me, as she worked in a male dominated field at a time when being a woman in science and engineering was challenging. I think that she is an inspiration as she paved the way for millions of women after her to enter the field.”

Associate Director Jane Clarkson works as part of our Ground Engineering team in our Newcastle office. “A love of problem solving, always asking, ‘why?’  and a having variety of things on the go should have made me realise engineering was for me; but it was my maths teachers at school (both formerly civil engineers) who suggested it.  A brilliant work few months of work experience in Denmark with IAESTE during my degree, including time on site during construction of the Oresund link sealed the deal!  I’ve worked with fantastic people (colleagues and clients), I’m constantly learning and I get to find out what’s in the ground beneath me… it’s all younger me could have wanted! ”


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