International Women in Engineering Day: Celebrating Achievements and Inspiring the Future

JUNE 23, 2024

International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to females in this exciting industry. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.

We asked Jan Hammond, Technical Author at Chess, about her journey to becoming an engineer.


Why did you want to become an engineer?

As a child I enjoyed making things out of scrap materials, especially furniture for my dolls-house using sellotape, cotton reels and string! I was fascinated by how things fit together. I also loved reading and creative writing, and as a technical author in an engineering company I enjoy looking at the intricate processes that go into a system, and also writing about them!


What do you enjoy most about your work as an engineer?

I enjoy the collaborative nature of my work. As a technical author I get to work on multiple projects within Chess, asking questions and learning as much as I can about how a system works, before documenting it in a way that can (hopefully!) be understood.


Have there been any challenges on your road to become an engineer? How have you overcome these?

Prior to joining Chess my background was more tech focused, as I documented games development tools for Sony. So when I first started working for an engineering company there was a lot to learn, both about the systems made by Chess and engineering in general. I have really enjoyed the challenge though. The best way to approach something you aren’t sure about is to dive right in – do as much research as you can on the issue, look at the engineering models, and keep asking questions.


Why is diversity of talent so crucial to the engineering industry?

A diverse workforce is vital for all industries but is particularly relevant for engineering. The need to be creative when approaching new problems means that a wide range of voices and talents should be heard. The more diverse the team, the greater the wealth of experience and knowledge that can be drawn on, and the more innovative the ideas and solutions.


Females make up less than 18% of higher apprentices in engineering & manufacturing, and 7.4% of all engineering apprentices (Engineering UK 2018). What do you think organisations could do to encourage more females into engineering roles?

It’s so important that organisations carry out STEM visits to schools, starting in primary schools. We need to move away from ideas about what constitutes a male or female role, and highlight to girls the wide range of jobs and opportunities that are available to them. Within the workplace, flexible working arrangements and good policies on maternity/paternity leave can be a vital method of support to women working in engineering.