Top women engineers to show it’s not just ‘jobs for the boys’

Women in Engineering news "There are still many misconceptions around girls taking up careers in Engineering." Bev Reardon, Schools and Colleges Liaison Tutor, Colleges of Arts and Engineering and Technology

Date posted: 29 January 2015

Top women engineers will tell school and college girls how they built successful careers in their industry at a University of Derby event.

Ten women overseeing and involved with major railway, aero, defence and other engineering projects will speak at the free ‘Women in Engineering’ event from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday February 24, at the Heap Lecture Theatre, at the University’s main Kedleston Road site in Derby. The event is aimed at girls aged 12 and above, their parents, and teachers and careers advisors.

Speakers will include:

  • Rachel Turner – Project Manager (and Scheme Manager for the graduate training programme) – and Fiona Malcolm, Fleet Engineer; both from the Porterbrook Leasing Company of Derby, one of the three main UK train leasing companies.
  • Claire Machin, Senior Engineer at RB Safety Consultants; a safety and risk management consultancy for the nuclear, defence, business and rail sectors.
  • Paula Gwinnett, responsible for developing post-16 Engineering education and industrial partnerships at the JCB Academy in Uttoxeter, Staffs, and a member of its senior management team.
  • Sharon Lee, a Chartered Civil Engineer with 19 years of leadership and asset management experience in rail; currently with the global ARUP consultancy.
  • Gemma Playford, Senior Project Manager within Programme and Project Management, also with ARUP. Gemma is currently project managing the Waterloo Masterplan, looking at how the London train station will deal with increasing passenger numbers in the future.
  • Linda Wain, HST Fleet and Depot Manager for East Midlands Trains, based at the Neville Hill depot in Leeds.

Also speaking at the event will be AJ (Ashleigh Jay) Watson and Emma Coates, both current students on the University’s BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree course; and Emma Allott, an Advanced Technical Apprentice working for Rolls-Royce Aero Repair and Overhaul.

AJ, 22, originally of Ware, Hertfordshire, said: “I am a second-year Mechanical Engineering student, and am hoping to go on to a career in nuclear design engineering. My dream job is to be a nuclear design engineer at Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations, working on the latest reactors for nuclear submarines.”

Fellow second-year Emma Coates, 25, of Duffield, added: “So far I have been successful in my studies and have really enjoyed the variety of subject areas covered. I also have been involved in extra projects, such as the University’s entries for the Shell Eco marathon project and the Formula student team, both of which are about designing and building race cars.

“Alongside my degree I work as a student ambassador, promoting Engineering within the University but also promoting it to female students."

The event has been organised by Bev Reardon, Schools and Colleges Liaison Tutor for the University’s Colleges of Arts, and of Engineering and Technology.

Bev said: “I set-up the Women in Engineering event because talking to parents, teachers and prospective students, it’s clear there are still many misconceptions around girls taking up careers in Engineering. To some, it still conjures up images of only oily, manual labour.

“To help dispel these misconceptions our event will bring together experienced women engineers and those just starting out in the sector, to talk to girls thinking about joining the industry.”

Schools parties, as well as individuals, are welcome to attend the free event. Schools or Colleges wishing to bring a minibus or coach full of students to the event should get in touch with the organisers ahead of the event.

All bookings for places at the event should be made via the University’s online events booking system at:


For further information on this news release contact Adam Mallaby, University of Derby Press and PR Officer, on 01332 592289 or email