International Women in Engineering Day 2019

The Royal Navy employs hundreds of female engineers, working in the marine and aviation industries. On June 23, we will join thousands of employers across all sectors in celebrating women working in engineering.

For the past five years, International Women in Engineering Day has been raising awareness and marking the achievements of women all over the world.

Within the Royal Navy, female engineers can work with the surface fleet, Fleet Air Arm and more recently as part of the submarine service. Although it has been dominated by men, the engineering sector is welcoming more women - with more inspiration for young girls through Stem activities hosted by the naval service.

Being a female engineer in the Royal Navy

Leading Air Engineering Technician Katherine Jennings

It has been a successful year so far for avionics expert Katherine Jennings. The leading hand was named the Royal Navy's ultimate apprentice during this year's National Apprenticeship Week.

Her success comes off the back of a number of achievements - she was top of her class at the home of naval engineering HMS Sultan, in Gosport, and picked up a gold award at last autumn’s World Skills competition at Birmingham’s NEC.

There are different experiences each and every day.

Currently based at RNAS Culdrose, LAET Jennings is working on the Merlin Mk2s of 824 Naval Air Squadron, which trains air and fellow ground crew in operating and maintaining the world’s most advanced submarine-hunting helicopter.

She said: "I used to fix equipment in McDonald’s until I saw the Royal Navy’s recruiting advert suggesting if you can fix a bike, you can fix a helicopter. I am now four years into a career as a Fleet Air Arm engineer.

“I really do enjoy my job – it is the best job that I have had. There are different experiences each and every day. The people who I work with also help to make the job enjoyable."

"I am hoping this event will help inspire more young women to follow a similar career path"

Probationary Leading Engineering Technician Rachel White

Probationary Leading Engineering Technician Rachel White

Lieutenant Commander Kim Mehta

Over the past 23 years, Lieutenant Commander Kim Mehta has nurtured thousands of Royal Navy engineers.

The training manager, based on Whale Island in Portsmouth, was recently awarded the First Sea Lord Greenwich Hospital Prize for "championing the cause of women in engineering in the Royal Navy".

She has helped shape the way engineering in the naval service is taught and ensured the facilities are state-of-the-art - overseeing the refurbishment of HMS Sultan's Defence School of Marine Engineering theatre. Lt Cdr Mehta was also part of the team who achieved an Outstanding Ofsted rating for the navy's apprenticeship scheme last year.

She started off teaching engineer electronics at HMS Collingwood, in Fareham, before moving on to advising how marine engineering is taught and how the programme is delivered. The development of the programme was such a success, it was picked up by the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School.

Over the years, she said she has seen a number of changes in equipment and branches as well as the inclusion of women engineers in the submarine service.

She said: "It is fantastic that now as a female you can do any job in the Royal Navy, as long as you meet the entry requirements. It gives people the opportunity to show how good they can be at different jobs."

Speaking about International Women in Engineering Day, she said: "It is an important event and shows we are still not quite there compared to some sectors in getting females in Stem-based and engineering-based jobs.

"It showcases what jobs and opportunities there are for the next generations who might not know about it or have access to it."

As part of her training role, Lt Cdr Mehta was involved in the opening of the University Technical College Portsmouth - something she is very proud of.

"It was really exciting being involved with the UTC," she added.

"If we don't encourage girls to join and show them what's out there, they won't know. It's not that they choose not to, they don't know these jobs exist so it is important we raise awareness."