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Movement encourages more young women to take up engineering

Boosting Australia’s pool of engineering talent and encouraging more young women into the field is the focus of a new not-for-profit launched in Brisbane.

Twenty-six year old Felicity Briody, an AECOM infrastructure advisory consultant, co-created The Power of Engineering with the aim to connect industry, universities, schools and communities in order to inspire the next generation of women in engineering.

Supported by AECOM, Queensland University of Technology and Engineers Australia, the not-for-profit was officially launched at QUT this morning, with the aim to deliver educational programs for year nine and 10 students across 29 predominantly regional schools in 2013.

“Many sectors, from building and construction to infrastructure, mining and resources, are trying to boost diversity across their workforces,” said Briody.

“Engineering is a particular field with traditionally low levels of female representation.

“The problem seems to stem from outdated perceptions of what an engineering career entails. Young women think engineering is all hard hats and safety boots, whereas the reality is more often an office-based role analysing the acoustics of a concert hall or designing a sustainable cooling system for a building.

“To help solve the perception problem, The Power of Engineering aims to inspire young women across cities and regions alike to consider a diverse and creative career in engineering, focusing on the potential to change the world around them.”

Named in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence, Briody is a young woman on a mission to inspire others to create their own vision for the future.

She helped create The Power of Engineering in 2012 as a joint initiative by Women in Engineering Queensland and the Queensland Government Office for Women.

Since then, the initiative has reached more than 800 young females and non-traditional entrants in Queensland, 90 per cent of whom reported an increased desire to consider careers in the science and engineering fields.

“My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing engineering solutions make a positive difference to people’s lives and realising that as engineers, we can change the world,” said Briody.

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