A 20-year-old engineer from Kimberley is part of a team of young women determined to turn gender stereotypes in the profession upside down.
Jessica Bestwick of Eastwood Road, Kimberley has been shortlisted for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award for her work with Rolls Royce.
She currently works as a higher technical apprentice for the prestigious company where she develops and tests large aircraft engines.
Jessica told the Advertiser that it was a shock to have been shortlisted for the award and that to win would be a huge privilege.
She added: “It feels fantastic because someone thinks I’m inspirational and great at what I do.
“If you win the award you have the privilege of being a role model and trying to get more women into engineering.
Women currently represent only 6 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK - the lowest percentage in Europe.
The award aims to banish outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes and help change the perception that engineering is only a career for men by highlighting female role models.
Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership, said: “The lack of women in engineering is a huge problem for this country, contributing to skills shortages which threaten the economy.
“It’s partly a result of the lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls –so we hope to play a vital role by encouraging and inspiring more young girls to become engineers.”
Jessica is going up against four other women for the award and the winner will be announced at the IET ceremony on December 10 in central London.