Employers signal support for National Women in Engineering Day

Site leader Crea Lavin and members of the engineering team at Boxford-based Copella who are running

Site leader Crea Lavin and members of the engineering team at Boxford-based Copella who are running a science and engineering event with Thomas Gainsborough High School, co-inciding with National Women in Engineering Day. - Credit: Archant

Employers around East Anglia yesterday marked National Women in Engineering Day, which aims to help redress the low number of females in engineering professions.

Among the employers supporting the initiative was fruit juice company Copella, part of drinks giant PepsiCo and based at Boxford, near Sudbury.

Site leader Crea Lavin, herself a trained engineer, and colleagues launched a project to encourage female students at Thomas Gainsborough High School in Great Cornard to consider careers in science and engineering.

PepsiCo engineer Tracey Foster said: “As an industry we want to attract the best talent, both female and male, to help us drive the food and drink industry into the future.

“To do that it’s important to break down any barriers,” she added.

The campaign was also backed by Vidhya Karthikeyan, a 27-year-old researcher and engineer with BT at Adastral Park, near Ipswich, who grew up in India and Malaysia and, after winning a scholarship, completed an MSc in telecommunications at University College London before joining BT as a graduate.

She has since become one of the most prolific female inventors in the company, having registered 16 patent applications relating to autonomic network management.

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She said: “I come from a cultural background where women are discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering.

“It has been crucial for me to be passionate about what I do and where it’s going in order to be successful at my career.

“There are significant opportunities for us to merge the gender gap in such male-dominated professions and I am keen to encourage other women to consider science and engineering as both an enjoyable and rewarding career.”