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Celebrating women
in engineering

Dawn Rayson
Women can and will achieve in a man’s world – in the words of Bob Dylan “Times, they are a changing.”
Image of Dawn RaysonIn 30 years at BAE Systems, Dawn Rayson has had an exciting career in the Air Sector and has been recognised for some amazing achievements.
Dawn started her engineering career in the late 80’s in Flight Test as a Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) Co-ordinator, developing her skills to manage the Tornado ADV F3 fleet of aircraft. Within this role, Dawn became the first ever female to fly in a fast jet, a Hawk 100 series aircraft from the Warton site, as part of a Flight Test Observer role in 1994.
In 1998, after starting a family, Dawn moved into Systems Engineering, supporting the Tornado Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP), generating and managing the ASRAAM missile asset maintenance programme with the customer community. Upon leaving this role in 2001, Dawn was presented by the MoD with the distinguished ‘Fleeing Airman’ award for the infrastructure and integration she put in place between the two organisations, the award is usually only presented to service personnel.
Dawn spent the next ten years in four different roles within the Large Aircraft business, expanding her breadth of knowledge by managing multi-functional teams within the Flight Test, Airframe, Quality and Engineering Capability groups, before moving to the Central Engineering Airframe capability team.
Today, Dawn heads up the Engineering Integrated Learning and Development teams supporting the 4,200-strong engineering community within the Air Sector. Within this L&D role, Dawn has been respectively awarded, and strongly involved with:
  • “Engineer of the Year” in 2014 for the £3M return of investment she generated through the UK Aerospace Bursary Scheme.
  • Key promotor and facilitator of the UK steering board which generated and delivered the first ever UK Industry led Level 7 (MSc) Apprenticeship programme in 2016.
Both of these schemes promote BAE Systems, the UK aerospace industry and engineering excellence.
In Dawn’s spare time she has also achieved a 3-year diploma in Learning Design, in support of her current role.
When asked what she thought of women in engineering, Dawn said: “I have lived with, and worked through significant changes within the aerospace engineering community. Ttimes are changing to recognise women’s professionalism, ability and contribution to Engineering. By sheer hard work, passion for that work and tenacity, you can achieve almost anything in this historically male dominated industry.”