Diversity pioneers and inclusion role models in the engineering and technology sector were celebrated at a major awards ceremony in London.
Organised by EqualEngineers, an enterprise that connects inclusive employers with diverse talent in engineering and technology, the Engineering Talent Awards recognised people with a track record of breaking down barriers to succeed in the industry and celebrated organisations promoting diversity in the workplace.
The ceremony, founded by EqualEngineers director Dr. Mark McBride-Wright, was held in partnership with the Metro, Royal Academy of Engineering, and McLaren Racing.
Winners included Chrisma Jain, a chartered mechanical engineer who is a senior project leader at Transport For London, who took home the Engineer of the Year prize for her strong advocacy in changing the working environment.
Nabilah Thagia, meanwhile, won the Engineering Apprentice of the Year for her work with Dyson to support amputees and promoting disabilities as a strong Muslim woman in the workplace while Isabelle Pickett, a University of Bath student, won Engineering Student of the Year for her work to mentor young refugees and support undergraduates at scholarships through the establishment of a tutoring agency as a first-generation entry into the sector.
Dr. Patricia Xavier, from Swansea University, took home a prize in the innovation category for developing a new course for engineering students to think more broadly about ED&I while Katie Ireland, a senior geologist based in Newcastle and working for Ørsted, won the Engineering Returner gong for her strong technical skills and the use of her previous experience in oil and gas to implement new workflows to help her project team in the renewable energy sector. The engineer, who is also a STEM ambassador and gives talks at conferences, had spent five years away from her career to look after her children but gained positive support on her return.
There were big wins for corporate leaders like Rolls-Royce, who took home a trophy for the impressive talent acquisition programme, and Siemens UK collected the Large Employer of the Year accolade.
Metro executive editor Richard Hartley-Parkinson presented a prestigious award on the night to the overall winner in the Outstanding Excellence in Engineering category to Costain Group for their incredible outreach programme looking to help neurodiverse and autism while also designing inclusive training projects into their core business.
Dr. McBride-Wright, who received a coveted Rooke Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering earlier this year – following in the footsteps of British astronaut Major Tim Peake, is the managing director of EqualEngineers and he set the company up after years of working in the sector and seeing not only the challenges that the lack of diversity can bring, but also the risks posed to health, safety, and wellbeing.
Being a gay safety engineer himself, working for major engineering firms before later setting up the networking group InterEngineering for LGBT+ engineers gave him the drive to set up an organisation covering all aspects of diversity in the engineering and technology sector.
And as the founder of the ETAs, Dr. McBride-Wright said:
“We celebrated some fantastic role models in the engineering and technology sectors working all across the UK. The Engineering Talent Awards exist to shine a light on success and ingenuity, so I’m really pleased we were able to do that.
“This is one of the major events in the UK that also gives a huge platform to our country’s engineering businesses as well as the organisations nurturing the next generation.
“This year, we particularly celebrated the success of women in STEM as well as others from a range of diverse backgrounds. These awards are a major recognition of the country’s finest and emerging engineering talent.”