In 2017 the University announced it would be developing the Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise EDGE Hub, a major initiative designed to support the regional economy by addressing higher level skills shortages in STEM subjects. At the same time the University announced that a new range of Engineering courses with the aim of creating a sustainable and diverse regional talent pool of graduates, with a commitment that 30 to 35% of the University’s engineering graduates would be female by 2024.
Since then the University has recruited to its School of Engineering, Technology and Design, and nearly 40% of the academic staff are female, and so for INWED20 we celebrate our amazing female academics. They have had successful careers in industry from advanced manufacturing with lasers, extensive experience in developing diesel engines within the automotive industry to intelligent computer applications and cyber security, and now they are educating and guiding the next generation of female engineer to shape the world.
Dr Anne Nortcliffe is a systems engineer with experience of developing AI technology to support condition and process monitoring within manufacturing. Her work on systems supported manufacturing plants that ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week with automatic diagnostic tools that identified faults to prevent any unplanned shutdown that would cost the business money and ensure optimum health and safety of the workforce.
In her current role as the University’s Head of School for Engineering, Technology and Design, she is committed to supporting our student engineers on the first steps of their career, as well as our staff in their research and innovation, through passing on her expertise in systems, software and material engineering, and manufacturing.
Dr Nortcliffe said: “Becoming Head of School for Engineering, Technology and Design is a great honour and opportunity to make a different kind of inclusive engineering education experience.
“Inclusive teams in industry have shown to be more productive, yield better solutions and make more money for business as they develop solutions that reflect the real world, instead of mirroring a narrow part of the population.
“Twenty six years ago a Professor of Engineering said I could never be an academic as I am a women and dyslexic. Whatever the barrier, or whoever says “no”, there is always another solution. I strive to break these barriers, so the next generation of women in STEM are truly considered equal.”
Rebekkah Astbury, BEng Mechanical Engineering student
Rebekkah Astbury, 20, is studying BEng Mechanical Engineering. She said: “I wanted to study Engineering because there are no limitations on what you can do. I have always had an interest in Engineering and how things work. I am intrigued on the behind the scenes aspect. Starting from the first design to the finished piece.
“The best thing about studying at Canterbury Christ Church is the hands-on experience you receive. The practical sessions and workshops have a real benefit to your learning. It is a great way of interacting with your lecturers and tutors who support you to give you a better understanding of the subjects involved.
“I hope to pursue a career in Formula One, which is part of the Motorsport sector of the automotive industry. Formula One is the leading example of modern technical machinery that is developing and upgrading all the time and it would be my ambition to be involved in the future of the sport.
“Engineering is such a broad field with many possibilities for everyone. It enables you to learn the process and it gives you an insight to the future of engineering through various projects and research. There are a lot more women in engineering than there ever has been and it’s inspiring to see that you can be a part of the future too. Don't be afraid to try as there is a lot of support around, not only at University but in the outside world too.”
Megan Lee, BEng Product Design Engineering student
Megan Lee, 23, has just finished her Foundation Year and will start Product Design Engineering (BEng) in September. She said: “I wanted to study product design engineering as I’ve always been intrigued by how and why things work. In the future I hope to design and produce items to help people with everyday life. Women should consider studying and having a career in engineering, especially if you are passionate learning about how things work and want to help find solutions.
“Studying at Canterbury Christ Church has given me real life experience, working with companies and I’ve made great friends both on my course and in University accommodation.”
You can read more about our female engineers on the University’s engineering blog.
National Women in Engineering Day was launched for the first time in the UK on 23 June 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. In 2020 the theme is #ShapeTheWorld.