International Women’s Day – The Challenges Facing Women in Engineering

Thursday March 8th, 2018 TAGS: , ,

At ASV Global, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology and we want our company culture to match this. One of the ways we do this is promoting STEM outreach programmes that target under-represented groups in engineering.

While women in the UK make up 52% of the population, they make up just 23% of those in core STEM occupations and 24% of those working in core STEM industries. In engineering, however, women make up just 11%, a significant difference in percentage despite the 12,000 increase in female professional engineers since 2016.

In order to identify how we as a company can target and promote women in engineering, we talked to some of our own as part of International Women’s Day and discussed the challenges facing this group.

Priyanka Singh, Unmanned Systems Developer, working on some coding.

Priyanka Singh, an Unmanned Systems Developer here at ASV Global is still fairly new to the company, having only joined us 2 months ago. She outlines that the real problem with the industry is the visibility of women in similar roles:

“There are not enough women in engineering and it’s hard to find good female role models and mentors to help you through your career. There were only 4 female students in my Software Engineering class of 70 and even at ASV, there are only 5 Engineers.

I have been lucky to have worked with some excellent people who have helped and guided me and I have worked with organization like CodeFirst and Athena Swan that encourages young girls in school and colleges to join STEM fields. I hope we can make it easier for young girls to join and advance in the field.”

Product Manager, Ruth Taylor, leading a trial with the C-Worker 5.

Ruth Taylor, Product Manager – (Science), believes that the problems may still relate to confidence in the position. Ruth has over 6 years’ experience in the marine industry, drawing on core engineering skills from her beginning as a Naval Architect, she has quickly developed through the company to become a Product Manager. Here she discusses the troubles of having to prove yourself:

“Being taken seriously and speaking out when we have points is a problem. In my earlier career specially, I found myself fighting against the perceived ‘best’ way of doing things that went against my nature. It can be intimidating to lead large meetings and speaking out when you can see the noticeable difference in gender in the room. We often doubt our own skillset as women, we have to work against our instinctive feeling that we have to be capable of everything before we put ourselves forwards rather than good at most of it like our counterparts.”

Lilith Wallace, Apprentice Production Technician, in the workshop.

Part of ASV Global’s encouragement for women in engineering has been to sponsor female apprentices and encourage career development, specifically in hands-on roles. Lilith Wallace, who is a Production Technician Apprentice, has been with ASV Global for over a year. After completing a BSC in Marine Biology at University of Portsmouth, Lilith found that finding employment was difficult and she lacked the necessary experience. She said, “The apprenticeship has given me real experience and hands on training. I can jump right in and actually learn as I go rather than learning the theory and trying to apply it later.”

Lilith is currently undertaking a Level 2 Marine Engineering BTEC as well as a PEO in Boat Building and has worked across various teams including electrical, design and fabrication. “I’ve been working on everything from fuel systems one week to milling and lathing next week. I love the variety and getting to do the Powerboat 2 course really made me feel like part of the company.”

Natasha Cumming, Welder Fabricator, welding part of an ASV together.

Natasha Cumming, one of our Production Welders has completed the Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering and became fully qualified in TIG and MIG Welding during her time at the company. She said, “The training I have received at ASV has enabled me to progress from a trainee welder to successfully passing weld codes with procedure. I have been responsible for welding the hulls of over 15 ASVs.”

Our team is always growing, we are actively recruiting for people with all kinds of skillsets including software engineering, design engineers, boatbuilders and electricians. We welcome speculative CVs from people who have a passion for technology and are looking for a career out of the ordinary. Find out more at

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