Inspiring inclusion in STEM for INWED 2024

As part of the annual International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), Anna Preston, Development Team Leader at Mabey Hire and one of our STEM Ambassadors, has been invited to take part in a ‘Inspiring Inclusion in STEM’ webinar hosted by STEMAZING. We caught up with Anna to find out more about the event…

Can you tell us a bit more about the webinar?

It’s hosted by STEMAZING, a not-for-profit organisation led by founder and CEO Alexandra Knight and one that I’ve had a lot of involvement with over the last couple of years. STEMAZING’s focus is on empowering women in STEM to shine as visible role models. 

As the title suggests, the webinar will be all about how we can make STEM industries and careers more inclusive, focussing on many different groups of people who are currently under-represented within STEM, from those with physical or hidden disabilities to new parents looking to return to work.  

I’m one of eight speakers who’ll be taking part, with a range of really interesting topics, so it’s set to be a great event!

What will you be talking about in your speaker slot?

I’ll be sharing my own personal experiences as a woman in engineering and my career journey so far. As an autistic person myself, I’m also incredibly proud to be representing neurodiversity at the event and reflecting on both the benefits and challenges this has presented, as well as how I can use this to help others. 

Why do you think days like INWED are important?

As well as being a chance to pause and reflect on where we as an industry are in terms of equal representation and what more needs to be done, I think it’s also a great opportunity to highlight STEM careers.

Even today, many groups continue to be excluded from the industry or simply don’t consider engineering as a potential career path. This is really sad for engineering, as we’re missing out on big groups of talent. INWED is a fantastic means of showcasing people from these backgrounds and the amazing things they have achieved, in turn helping to promote and raise awareness of STEM careers.

There’s a phrase, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’, and I think that’s really relevant here – it’s all about representation. 

When I was in school, I was pushed in the direction of secretarial or banking careers, which really didn’t appeal to me. I had no idea that a career in engineering and construction was an option, which is why I’m now so passionate about spreading awareness and showing that it is possible.

Have you seen a change within the engineering industry over recent years?

100%! While there’s still a lot of change needed and work to be done, we’ve definitely started moving in the right direction. Even in the time I’ve spent at Mabey Hire, we’ve grown to now have eleven amazing female engineers in the team, with great representation across all other departments too. 

It’s all about the little things. For example, having female PPE available is a massive step forward for the industry. 

How can we watch the webinar?

Hosted online, it’s taking place on Tuesday 25th June at 11:30am - 1:30pm. The format is designed so that people can pop on and watch the talks that interest them. I hope to see you there!

You can register for the event, here

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