If you have ever tried to use the automated checkout facility in a supermarket you will probably know why it is important for girls and women to be involved in engineering. The checkout systems have probably been designed by and for people who don’t have a handbag. There is nowhere to put anything else you are carrying, and if you put your handbag in the bagging area the system breaks.

Engineering is about solving problems for real people who live in the real world. Anything that has a problem will have an engineering solution. Need a better blood sugar monitor for diabetics? Engineering. Need a better irrigation system? Engineering. Need a better supermarket checkout system? Engineering. Need a better way of helping an elderly person get in and out of bed? Engineering.

Everything you look at, everything you do, has been affected by engineering. Even the clothes you wear were made on machines that were designed and made by engineers. It’s not all about bridges and tunnels and cars and trains and aircraft. Engineering is about making life better for everybody.

Engineers solve problems using their brains and tools designed to help them. Most engineers never wear a hard hat or hi-vis jacket. They don’t all work on construction sites or in motor vehicle workshops Most people don’t know that. If you like helping people, if you like solving practical problems, if you like working in a team, you could be an engineer.

Handbags should not be unexpected items – anywhere.

Tina Eager is Head of Computing at The Canterbury Academy.

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