An engineering badge for the Girl Guiding movementLauren, Beth and SophieBAE Systems Submarines, BAE Systems Air, UK
When Lauren, Beth and Sophie from our Submarines business in the UK recognised an opportunity to inspire the next generation of engineers through the Girl Guiding movement, they set about developing a bespoke engineering challenge badge.Working in partnership with GirlGuiding North West and forming a team called ‘G-Eng’, the ‘Clever Cogs’ badge programme they created was the first of its kind for the Guiding movement.Since its launch in 2017, the ‘Clever Cogs’ programme, has been completed by 20,800 girls aged 5 – 24 across the UK and is the most popular badge Girlguiding North West England has ever run. The programme includes 13 different activities providing a greater insight into what engineering is - and includes information about inspirational female engineering role models who have excelled in their fields. To achieve the badges, girls have to complete a number of hands-on activities ranging from building mechanical hands to making their own lava lamps.We want to change the way girls think about engineering and creating a badge within a female-led, empowering organisation felt like a really practical way of showing what engineering is really all about.
Sophie, BAE Systems Air
Due to the popularity of Clever Cogs - the G-Eng team and Girlguiding North West England then developed a series of ‘expansion packs’. The first expansion badge, launched on International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) in 2019, was themed around Transportation Engineering and includes a number of fun and engaging activities to educate on various elements of transportation engineering. On INWED 2020, the next expansion pack was launched, themed around environmental engineering (see our STEM resources on this page).Sophie, now with BAE Systems’ Air business said: “Our engineering background and our passion to increase the number of female engineers in the UK led to our lightbulb moment. We want to change the way girls think about engineering and creating a badge within a female-led, empowering organisation felt like a really practical way of showing what engineering is really all about. It’s been brilliant to see how this has taken off and I hope has inspired girls to find out more about careers in engineering.”The G-Eng team has now also created a specific programme for Girl Guides Singapore called ‘She Solves’, to find out more watch the video below.
Next, the team plan to work to bring the programme to Australia and also expand the ‘She Solves’ programme into Malaysia.
LoriSenior Principle EngineerBAE Systems Inc, Intelligence & Security sector, USA
In August 2003, Lori joined BAE Systems as a Configuration Manager for the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke Destroyer Class (DDG 51) Post Shakedown Availability. Over the next 13 years, she became the AEGIS Combat Systems Test and Trial Manager and a Program Manager for several programs supporting Integrated Warfare System 1.0. She also served as the Systems Engineering Tech Lead for a strategic systems program. Today, she is a Senior Principle Engineer for the BAE Systems Air Force Solutions business and serves as the Intelligence & Security (I&S) sector’s Engineering Authority. Lori’s goal is to effectively collaborate and take best practices from industry, government, other company sectors, and business units to improve engineering rigor within the I&S sector.My physics teacher inspired me to become an engineer
Lori, Senior Principle Engineer, BAE Systems Air Force Solutions
Growing up in the inner city of Bridgeport, CT, Lori always knew that she wanted to attend college. She was the first person in her family to attend and graduate college, making it a major accomplishment for her. Most of the people she interacted with had modest careers or worked at local community stores and restaurants. She did not know any engineers until her junior year in high school when she met her physics teacher, who was a degreed engineer from Rensselaer Polytechnic University. He and a few of Lori’s other STEM teachers sparked her interest in engineering and encouraged her to join programs like the Junior Engineering Technical Society and the National Engineering Design Challenge.These programs allowed her to solve real world problems, work with other students from various backgrounds, and present ideas to judges in a competitive environment. She was hooked. She knew that engineering was what she wanted to do after growing up thinking that she would be a doctor. Lori could have attended a university in state to major in engineering (it would have saved a lot of money), but she knew college would be her time to remove herself from an environment she was comfortable in and see what the world had to offer. She chose a school 500 miles away at the University of Virginia. Sight unseen, Lori applied, was accepted, and was on her way to pursuing her career. There were only a handful of females in her program and she was the only African American female to graduate in her class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.Lori’s family and friends back home were proud of her because they knew how hard she worked to get where she is today. She continues to aim for positions that show other females that an engineering degree is difficult to acquire (both financially and academically), but it is attainable for anyone, if you are determined to succeed.
Lori enjoys speaking to young people in her community about pursuing a career in STEM. When they find out about all the amazing programs she has worked on during her tenure at BAE Systems, their eyes light up, and that’s when Lori knows her journey to this place was well worth it.
SamanthaMechanical Aircraft Maintenance ApprenticeBAE Systems Australia
Samantha is in the fourth year of her Mechanical Aircraft Maintenance apprenticeship with BAE Systems in Australia. She was BAE Systems Australia Apprentice of the Year last year.She says: “I started out a small town coastal girl, now I’m working on the Lead In Fighter Hawk aircraft. Being a woman may have its challengers, but being a female aircraft maintenance engineer is not one of them! The more diversity we have, the more it won’t seem to be different.“Starting out in the small town of Exmouth, all I wanted to do was to be like my father and become a pilot. Accomplishing that at just 16 years old, I realized I loved aviation but I found that being a pilot was actually not for me and I wanted to work in engineering. I was knocked back for an apprenticeship multiple times, and to give myself a better chance, I moved to the city and gained my certificate 2 in aeroskills. I then gained employment with BAE Systems and hoping to complete my four year apprenticeship earlier than planned.Anything worth doing is not easy to get
Samantha, Mechanical Aircraft Maintenance apprentice, BAE Systems AustraliaI have gained so much in the last few years including being awarded Apprentice of the Year in 2019 for BAE Systems Australia. I chose to be a maintenance engineer because I like being around aircraft and mechanical enginering. The work and the people are what makes it so enjoyable. Without new faces, opinions and ideas; aviation will not grow to be a better, safer and more exciting place to be.“If you want to do something, go and do it. No one is going to give it to you on a silver platter. Work hard and the feeling of success will make the ride all worth it. As I was always told, anything worth doing is not easy to get, but stick it out and it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do.”
JackieGraduate Mechanical Engineer
BAE Systems Australia
Jackie is a Graduate Mechanical Engineer working in Advanced Manufacturing in BAE Systems Australia.
Jackie says: “I grew up in a country town in Victoria called Ballarat and was exposed to an engineering environment as my parents own a company that manufactures mining equipment that they built from scratch themselves. My father is the technical lead at this company and comes up with crazy ideas, implements them into real-life working designs, builds them and then sells them to customers. He is my inspiration and my role model. He taught me the fundamentals of engineering: creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication and management. This sounds intimidating, but to become an engineer, you just need to be willing to challenge your own thoughts and those around you.You need to be willing to challenge your own thoughts.
Jackie, Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Advanced Manufacturing, BAE Systems Australia
“I believe that the best design isn’t what has already been done but what hasn’t been done. If you can inspire yourself and those around you to push the normal, get creative and try different things then engineering might be perfect for you! I was only one of a very few females that studied engineering and whilst this inbalance needs to be addressed you can use this to your advantage. I always try and inspire those around me and reach out to young adults as an engineering role model which is so personally rewarding.
“Choosing a career is a critical decision to make in your life. You will be successful in whatever you choose if you are passionate about it!
BillieEngineering ApprenticeBAE Systems Electronic Systems, UK
Billie is in her third and final year of an engineering apprenticeship with BAE Systems in Rochester in the UK. She is currently working within Hardware Engineering, identifying and finding design solutions for obsolescent parts and components. Last year she was names as one of the UK’s Top 50 by the Women’s Engineering Society.My apprenticeship gives me ‘hands-on’ experience.
Billie, Engineering apprentice, BAE Systems Electronic Systems (UK)Billie has always had a keen interest in engineering, which naturally made physics and maths her strongest and favourite subjects. She had originally planned to study one of these subjects at university, but a work experience visit to BAE Systems in Rochester prompted her to reconsider her options. Eventually she made the decision that the ‘learn while you earn’ apprenticeship approach was best for her.Billie said: “I thought long and hard about whether to go to university or do an apprenticeship. In the end I chose an apprenticeship because I thought it was a great opportunity to gain some real hands-on experience from experts in their fields. I am still keen to complete a degree, and will have the opportunity to do this following the completion of my scheme at BAE Systems.”Billie explains: “It’s exciting to be involved in the development of new technologies, learn more about the aerospace industry, and to think that I could be working on systems used worldwide. This is all while I continue to develop new skills and gain experience, which I will hopefully use soon and contribute towards future advancements in technology.”
ChristineEngineering DirectorBAE Systems Inc, Electronic Systems, USA
Christine is the Engineering Director of Countermeasure and Electromagnetic Attack Solutions at BAE Systems Electronic Solutions business in the US and has focused her career on designing and developing products that protect the warfighter. Her team creates technologies operating across the electromagnetic spectrum to protect airborne platforms from being shot down. Christine also founded the high school FIRST® Robotics Competition Team 4905.For her, the best part of working as an engineer is solving problems that help make the world a better place. Developing cutting-edge solutions that stay ahead of our adversaries is challenging, exciting work.“It is the challenge of finding a solution where none exists today,” Christine said. “Getting feedback from pilots or soldiers describing how our products saved their lives is amazing.”Getting great product feedback from soldiers and pilots is amazing
Christine, Engineering Director, BAE Systems Inc, Electronic Systems, USAWhen she was young, she was inspired by projects that she would work on with her father, who was an electrician. She wanted to follow in his footsteps until, during one family dinner, he painted an uncomfortable image of her as an electrician working outside in the winter or in a frigid cold building before the heat was installed. Then he suggested that she look into becoming an electrical engineer. “I am very glad I did!” she said.Engineering new capabilities at BAE Systems requires a significant amount of teamwork and collaboration. “I love the energy and excitement of being part of a diverse team of people working together toward a common goal,” she said. “In my 26 years working as an engineer, I can honestly say that I have never been bored.”Outside of work, Christine spends the majority of her free time with the FIRST® robotics team that she founded. Although many of the students on her team knew nothing about engineering, and many had never even used a power tool when they joined, 79 percent of them have pursued STEM fields after high school graduation.“It is incredibly rewarding to work with students to build a 125 pound competitive robot while inspiring the next generation of female and male engineers,” she said. “Our future will continue to be full of threats to our humanity, and they are the future engineers who will hit those threats head-on.”
KatProject Engineering ManagerBAE Systems Maritime Services, UK
Kat works as a Project Engineering Manager within Engineering and Digital Services at BAE Systems Maritime Services business at Portsmouth Naval Base in the UK. With an extensive career in engineering, Kat has worked in many varied environments.
Originally starting work in the automotive industry, Kat then discovered superyacht engineering and spent a decade working on many different sailing and motor vessels, expanding her skillsets and testing her capabilities. Whilst working as a Chief Engineer on board vessels around the world, Kat then decided she wanted to put down roots in Cornwall in the UK and pursue a change of focus. In Cornwall she began running a boat-building business as a General Manager.Kat really enjoyed the challenge but also realised that she missed using her engineering capabilities and decided to return to the engineering profession.
Initially, this was a real challenge as HR teams in many engineering companies just didn’t recognise the potential for transferring Kat’s extensive engineering skills to their organisation. Then, the STEM Returners organisation head-hunted Kat over LinkedIn. This was her opportunity to get back into the profession and was when Kat’s journey with BAE Systems Maritime Services began.I’d read through requirements and think: ”I don’t match any of these”, but in reality my experience could be transferred to that new environment.
Kat, Project Engineering Manager, BAE Systems Maritime Services, UK
Having supplied her CV, Kat was invited to a STEM Returner intro day with the company which involved the presentation of information, networking and a brief interview. Kat subsequently joined a BAE Systems project team at Portsmouth Naval Base on the STEM Returner three month placement scheme for those seeking to get back into engineering jobs.
The company quickly recognised Kat’s talents and level of experience and offered her a permanent job before the placement scheme had even finished. Kat was finally able to return to UK industrial engineering. She re-chartered with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and set about demonstrating her extensive transferable skillset.
Kat says: ”It’s great to be back doing what I trained for. Being out of the engineering sector and looking at the job advert specifications was a very intimidating experience. I’d read through requirements and think: ”I don’t match any of these”, but in reality my experience could be transferred to that new environment. I think firms could definitely benefit from widening their recruitment processes and advertising to a wider audience to ensure they don’t miss out on highly qualified and suitable candidates.”