Storytelling, film, and engineering come together in a new Ingenious project at University of the West of Scotland.
‘A Car for Women and Other Stories’ takes up the story of Dorothée Pullinger, a pioneering motor engineer in the 1920s. Dorothée is most famous for designing and building a “Car for Women” at her factory in Galloway, Scotland. As the director and manager of Galloway Motors, Dorothée recruited a large female workforce to train as engineers and build the cars at the end of World War I.
The University of the West of Scotland team, made up of myself (Professor Katherine Kirk) and Dr Evi Viza of the School of Engineering and Computing, along with Professor Katarzyna Kosmala and Tony Grace of the School of Media Culture and Society, are joining forces with Pullinger expert and independent researcher, Dr Nina Baker, to explore the story of Dorothée’s life and achievements.
I was inspired to set up InterEngineering in 2014 when I realised I did not know any other LGBT+ engineers! A spotlight existed on gender and ethnicity, but there was nothing on sexual orientation and gender identity; they are harder to see by virtue of the fact that they are hidden identities. In response to this, I co-founded InterEngineering, and our success has far surpassed anything I originally expected.
InterEngineering connects, informs and empowers LGBT+ engineers and supporters to foster greater inclusion in engineering. Our vision is to be the leading LGBT+ organisation catalysing change and fostering greater inclusion in engineering by working with engineering companies, institutes, government and the future talent pipeline.
Rishi Vegad is an engineering student and an amputee wearing the world’s most intelligent prosthetic limb. Linx, from Blatchford, a leading supplier of prosthetic devices, is the world’s first fully integrated limb system. It was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award in 2016 and Rishi has played a unique role in helping to develop and test it.
Rishi, tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am currently studying mechanical engineering at Kingston University and will graduate next year. I haven’t yet decided which field to specialise in after I graduate, but at the moment, I think I would like to work in the design and manufacture of prosthetics, or alternatively use my mechanical background to focus more on aerospace engineering.
I became an engineer because I was curious about how things work. I recall trying to understand how images got to our TV screen from a TV aerial and how radios work as a child. As my Dad is an engineer, it seemed an obvious choice to consider a career in engineering. Yet, choosing a career was difficult because my mum thought architecture would be more suitable. In the end, I chose to study electronics engineering because I could see myself enjoying it long term.
I now work as a telecommunications engineer within WSP, a world-leading engineering design and professional services company. I design systems and networks using SMART technology within the transportation environment. My designs apply digital systems and wireless technology to provide real time information on various modes of transport to customers. Using SMART technology ensures that information can adapt automatically to help commuters make better informed choices, safer and seamless travel from location to their destination. Some of my design projects include Crossrail, the Blackwall tunnel and Edinburgh Gateway station. As well as making a difference in what future technologies can meet customer’s transport needs, my work also contributes to saving lives. I am responsible for designing networks for end-users, including the fire, ambulance and police services and members of the public.
“Hello, I can’t move my hands or legs, could you make me a smartphone I could use?” This was the phone call I received around 5 years ago, that has completely changed my life.
My name is Oded Ben Dov and I used to write apps and games for smartphones. After appearing on TV with a game we developed that was controlled by head gestures, I got the phone call above from Giora Livne. Giora, a released Lieutenant Colonel from the Israeli Navy, became paralyzed 10 years ago after falling off a ladder and hitting his spine.
I had no former acquaintance with disabilities before Giora called, but once he presented the problem so concisely – “can you make me a smartphone I could use?” – I knew I found a calling beyond just games. It was a chance to put my skills and knowhow towards serving a much deserving population. It also presented a strong case for the use of gesture technology, which until today has been lacking in other fields.
With automation and emerging technologies shaping the workplace of the future, the workforce of tomorrow must also adapt. The sharp growth in new industries means engineering enterprises are set to need more than 265,000 skilled entrants every year through to 2024. Of these, around 186,000 people will be needed in purely engineering occupations. However, the UK is struggling to meet the growing demand for engineers.
Having gone through the UK education system and working as an engineer for 11 years, I can think of many reasons for the deficiency of engineers in the UK. Lack of diversity in the field, due to misconceptions and gender bias, plays a huge part.
I was born and raised in Mexico and grew up loving both science and people. This love drove me to study Chemical Engineering which eventually helped me become an engineer, a line manager, and, currently, I lead GSK’s Manufacturing and Supply graduate programmes, one of which is Engineering.
Unfortunately, when I was growing up, there were many people that tried to dissuade me from engineering. They would say “Mujer que sabe Latin, ni encuentra marido ni tiene buen fin.” Loosely translated this means “A woman who knows Latin, will not find a husband and thus things will end badly.”
I work for a company called ‘science made simple’, developing interactive science shows for schools and science festivals. As one of the UK’s leading science communication companies, we work closely with scientists and engineers to bring their work to life in front of public audiences. This year, I successfully applied to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s ‘Ingenious’ public engagement programme, receiving support to develop a new show based on a best-selling book.
‘The Knowledge’ by Lewis Dartnell explores how we might rebuild civilisation after a fictional apocalypse. In particular, the key things we need to know and understand in science and engineering that would enable us to re-start. How would we grow food, generate power, prepare medicines, or get metal out of rocks? Could we avert another Dark Ages or take shortcuts to accelerate redevelopment?