New mentoring program aims to inspire the next generation of female engineers
An innovative new three-way mentoring program is set to provide support and career development opportunities for young female engineers in regional NSW – and, if successful, could be rolled out nationally.
The Hustle scheme, which is being launched by Engineers Australia as a pilot program, is the brainchild of Northrop Cadet Civil Engineer Miranda Swift, and two fellow students from around the country – Clarissa Luk, a space engineer and law student from Perth, and Sydney-based biomedical engineer Jamie Byrnes.
The scheme aims to help female high school and university students springboard their careers with the support of an established industry professional by creating a three-way mentoring ecosystem.
“As part of an Engineers Australia scholarship, we were asked to create an initiative to help promote, attain and sustain women in engineering,” says Miranda, who hails from Lithgow, NSW.
“I went to a regional high school and know just how much I would have benefited from an initiative like this.”
The application phase of the pilot program has just launched, with ten high school students, ten university students and ten engineers set to be involved.
The pilot program will officially come to life in November in which the successful applicants from across New South Wales will be invited alongside Miranda to celebrate the launch in Sydney. The initial rollout has already created waves within the industry, and Miranda hopes it will inspire the next generation of female engineers.
“For high school students, this shows them the opportunities that are out there and helps with networking,” she says.
“We are aiming to help close the gap a little bit for people based in regional areas who might otherwise miss out because they don’t have the opportunity to make that connection.”
The scheme is set to be equally rewarding and beneficial for other participants as well.
Miranda explains. “For uni students, it provides those networking opportunities too, and demonstrates that it doesn't matter your age or position – you can be a leader.
“For professional engineers, the whole idea is to show them the impact they can have. This initiative has the ability to change some of those young girls’ lives.”
As part of the program, Miranda will travel to regional high schools to speak about the pathways into engineering in the hope of inspiring other young women to enter the profession.
Creating a lasting impact
Within Northrop, everyone is encouraged to explore and develop ideas that will have a lasting impact on our community, and Principal and Northern NSW Business Manager Neil Petherbridge says the Hustle program is just one example of the work that goes on behind the scenes.
“At Northrop, we try to create spaces and opportunities for our people to find and explore their areas of passion, and the Hustle program led by Miranda is a brilliant example of the ingenuity that can happen when someone commits to doing that,” he says.
“Over the long term, our industry and the wider community is positively impacted, too.”
“I was taken aback by how supportive and encouraging everyone is at Northrop,” Miranda says. “They encourage you to use your voice, so whenever I've had an idea, it's been fueled by people who want to listen and want to help you.
“No matter how important someone is within the business, they never make you feel like they're too busy to talk to you – no matter how long you’ve been here or how old you are.
“I feel like my ambition has been fueled by being a part of this incredible business.”
Applications are now open for Hustle, with the pilot being officially launched in November. If you are interested in being involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org