Few concepts are more exciting than going faster on land than anyone has ever done before. It’s fitting that back in 2008, the venue chosen for the launch of Richard Noble’s BLOODHOUND Project, which aims to smash the current land speed record of 763mph, was the Science Museum in London. As well as attempting to break the land speed record – targeting a top speed of 1,000mph – a secondary goal of the project is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
This is not just a story of courage and determination, or simply about showcasing jet propulsion in a land-based vehicle. Above all this is a science and engineering project that schoolchildren across the UK, and indeed, the world, will be following intently. It will shape career choices and determine futures long after the BLOODHOUND team have met with success or failure in the South African desert.
The renewable energy revolution is really taking off. Finally, after years being confined to land-based wind farms, big ideas are moving into commercial production. That’s why there has never been a more interesting time to be working in the renewables sector, says Beth Dickens, a Senior Engineer with Pelamis Wave Power. She believes there are so many “moving parts” to this exciting sector, from marine to offshore and solar, that the industry now needs a whole spectrum of engineering skills. The future is likely to be rosy for anyone with an engineering qualification as companies in the sector compete for skilled staff.
Dickens entered renewables as an engineering career in 2001, doing work experience with Pelamis. This was back in the days when the company was just launching its wave power generation machine, which looks like a large, multi-section steel snake. “I did my work placement with Pelamis as well, during my engineering degree, and joined them as soon as I graduated from Edinburgh University with a Masters degree in mechanical engineering,” says Dickens. Pelamis is an offshore wave energy converter, comprising five tube sections linked by universal joints. These allow the Pelamis to flex in two dimensions. Hydraulic power take-off systems, which are housed in each joint, generate power as the system floats semi-submerged in the swell. The power is transmitted to shore using standard subsea cables and equipment. Continue reading “Engineering and the Renewable Energy Sector” »
It may surprise you to know that when it comes to playing computer games, the balance of women to men is 51% to 49%, according to creativeskillset.org, the industry’s skills body. However, when it comes to who’s getting the jobs, the split is 14% to 86% in favour of men. This is a slight improvement on the 6% versus 94% split in 2010, but way down on the figures from 2000, when a woman held one job in five in the industry.
“This industry needs women in all roles, from programmers and games designers, to artists, directors and animators. Women are responsible for some of the real genre breakthroughs in computer gaming and the industry really needs to get the numbers up!” says Gina Jackson, a consultant at Creativeskillset.
Jennifer Schneidereit is the co-founder of Nyamyam, which specialises in games for smartphones and tablets. Her current best-selling game is Tengami, which she describes as “a very serene game for everyone from seven years of age upward”. It takes place in the world of a Japanese pop-up book, where you solve puzzles by pushing, pulling, cutting, sliding and moving the pop-ups. Jennifer says she always wanted to be a computer games designer, which is why she did a computer science degree in Germany before spending four years in Japan with the games company Acquire, as a self-proclaimed “hardcore” games programmer. Continue reading “Women in the Computer Gaming Industry” »
Nuclear power in Britain is back and with it a demand for critical engineering skills.
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With the government deciding that renewable energy wasn’t yet ready to meet all of Britain’s ever-rising energy needs, it committed to building a new generation of nuclear power stations. Nuclear power had a reputation problem with some sections of the public, but with its potential to create high value engineering jobs and act as a low-carbon stopgap, there are signs that that’s changing.
1 in 7 women claim that becoming a mother has cost them their job. Can the right to ask for flexible working help put an end to the discrimination epidemic?
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2014 sees the implementation of long-planned legislative changes, which will afford every worker in the UK the right to ask their employer for flexible working hours, regardless of whether or not they have children.
As a working mother, and one with a vested interest in the job market, I hope this will spark cultural and behavioural change, because something needs to be done to tackle workplace discrimination. Continue reading “The Secret Scandal of Pregnancy and Maternity Redundancy” »