Engineers making a difference

08 March 2023

An AMRC engineer features in a new book that will be sent to every secondary school in the UK to inspire and excite young people about careers in engineering.

Beth Cousins, project engineer at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), was hand-picked to appear in the book Engineers Making a Difference, alongside 45 other superhero engineers from sectors including construction, energy, transport, robotics and artificial intelligence and more. 

The book, released just days before International Women's Day, was penned by Dr Shini Somara, a mechanical engineer who is also a mentor at Imperial College London and a media broadcaster. Her love for engineering began at childhood, spending countless hours building things and pulling them apart to see how they worked – not to mention the curiosity she developed through watching her father, who was a mechanical and electrical engineer. 

“I had always been curious to understand how things work and my dad encouraged me to investigate,” says Dr Somara in her introduction for the book. “He was probably the main reason why I chose to follow a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career myself.”

In the book, Beth, who works within the gears team at the AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, said that collaboration, creativity and communication are essential in her job and that she loves the team of brilliant people she works with. 

She goes on to say: “Everyone has different skills and expertise, but we are all passionate about finding solutions. Doing things differently should be encouraged in manufacturing, which is why we need more young people to join the industry.”

Dr Somara acknowledges that not everyone has an engineering family member or hero to aspire to, but hopes that people like Beth, along with the other 45 incredible and diverse individuals in the book may do just that by showing the real difference they are making in the world. 

In the book, Dr Somara writes: “I chose to interview the people in this book because many of them are working on engineering solutions that affect us all. I wanted to find out more about them, what they do everyday at work and what motivates them. 

“I believe that engineers are undercover superheroes, who save lives in many different ways, by building safe bridges, planes, medical equipment and much more. Engineers are crucial for a better future, as they continue to play a major part in slowing climate change.” 

To help bring engineering careers into the spotlight further and reaffirm that anyone from any background can consider a career in engineering, the collaborators of Engineers Making a Difference, are sending out a school kit to every state secondary school in the UK, which includes two copies of the book, a teacher’s guide, 12 posters and a four metre-long timeline wall chart.  

The project is supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, set up by Lord Sainsbury to give charitable funding to science, education and art projects. Collaborating on the project are Imperial College London, a global top ten university with a strong focus on STEM subjects, and What on Earth Publishing, a publisher of non-fiction books that engage the natural curiosity of young people.  

The book can also be found via: 

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