International Women in Engineering Day takes place every year on 23 June and highlights the amazing careers that are available in engineering and technical roles.

We spoke to three of our staff about their love of engineering and how it has influenced their careers.

Sarah Doherty - Manager, Safety and Intelligence

Sarah Doherty

I went to an all-girls school which measured its success on how many pupils were accepted into Oxbridge to study Classics, Law or Medicine. Imagine the surprise of the school careers advisor when, at the age of 13, I boldly stated that I want to be an aerospace engineer! 

A few years later I became an apprentice at British Aerospace, which was the first time I had done sheet metal work, soldering and technical drawing using a drawing board - all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I went on to complete an aerospace engineering degree as one of four women on a course with over 100 students. 

It's many been years since I was an Airworthiness Surveyor but I use my engineering background every day. It taught me how to solve problems, apply a methodical approach and gather data to inform decision-making. Being a chartered aerospace engineer is usually a good ice breaker at social occasions too!.

Anne-Marie Hopcroft - Principal, Policy Development

Anne Marie Hopcroft

My love of aviation and engineering was inspired by my dad who spent many years in the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a ground engineer.  

During my education it's fair to say that I was in the minority being female, firstly studying Physics as one of my A-levels and then going onto an engineering degree and Masters. This has certainly never felt like an issue for me even if it did cause a few raised eyebrows from others.  My physics teacher told my parents that 'girls don't tend to do well in this subject'! I actually found this helpful as it gave me the boost to prove him wrong!   

Although I've not taken an engineering related career path, I feel very strongly influenced by my engineering background particularly in how I assess and approach tasks with a technical appreciation.  It's also allowed me access to so many great opportunities such as fire-fighting training with the Royal Navy and testing GPS receivers in the middle of Iowa.

Pippa Moore - Principal Policy Specialist - Cyber

Pippa Moore

I wanted to work with aircraft from a very early age. When I 'discovered' pure logic and software engineering, I realised that I'd found exactly what I wanted to do with my life and, yes, I do know that makes me a geek!  

I took a software and electronic hardware apprenticeship which involved working to develop flight control system software. When I joined the CAA, I realised that aircraft safety analysis uses the same analytical thinking that software engineering uses, which was great news. 

I have been lucky enough to be involved in new technologies (such as drones and spaceplanes) and new ways of developing aircraft systems that will allow us to achieve safety related aims that, until recently, we could only dream about.

There are lots of opportunities within the aviation sector and we encourage people to consider this fascinating industry for their career.

More information on International Women in Engineering Day is available at inwed.org.uk.


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