Head of Engineering shortlisted for diversity award

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As Head of Engineering, Lisa Brodie has spent the last few years redesigning the curriculum and imagining a space (realised in the new Engineering building) where engineering is accessible for everyone. So it should come as no surprise that she has been shortlisted for the Enginuity Diversity in Engineering Award.

Congratulations Lisa!

The award recognises organisations, individuals or a team that has delivered a specific scheme, project, or initiative, that significantly contributes to shifting the dial of equality, diversity, and inclusion within our sector.

This nomination isn’t the first time Lisa’s tireless efforts for diversity in engineering have been recognised. Watch the BBC Points West Video below to find out more about how the building is designed with neurodiverse students in mind, and read what Lisa has to say about the impact a more diverse workforce can have on engineering –

If we want to solve the challenges we face as a society, we need to attract different types of people into the engineering discipline. We need to embrace different ways of thinking and doing, and celebrate differences. Our mission is to change the perception of the roles that engineers fulfil and raise aspirations in underrepresented groups. 

If we carry on seeing the same intake entering the profession, we will continue to come up with the same old solutions. Engineers will need to think differently and be far more creative and innovative over the next decade, particularly with some of the challenges we face in areas such as the climate crisis. We aim to be the difference.

Professor Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol

Inspiring the next generation of diverse engineers 

But it’s not just about empowering current UWE student engineers, Lisa is also looking to the future of engineering. In late 2019, Lisa fought for, and now leads, the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Skills programme, which aims to to improve diversity in recruitment into STEM industries (particularly engineering) whilst also enhancing retention of skilled engineers in the industry. The Skills programme has a three pronged approach:

  • Inspiring children into STEM
  • Transforming courses and work experience to upskill apprentices
  • Innovating new short courses to reskill the workforce in digital technologies

The Inspire programme has had particular success, reaching over 7000 children in the South West so far, with 42% of all schools engaged with face-to-face, coming from from areas within the most deprived 20% of the country. Those children have been exposed to innovative engineering workshops that connect them with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

And lots of those workshops have taken place in the purpose-built classroom at UWE Bristol’s School of Engineering. All made possible by Lisa’s trailblazing ideas.

Engineering for Everyone!

Want to hear more about how Lisa has ensured the new building is designed with diversity in mind? Read on!

The brand-new purpose built engineering facility has been co-designed in conjunction with Lisa’s new engineering curriculum, to create a supportive environment for students from under-represented backgrounds. Keeping this focus in mind throughout both the curriculum and the design of the building’s physical structure make it a truly unique space.

As part of Lisa’s drive to embrace and celebrate neuro-diversity, the building is equipped with individual study spaces designed to support students with sensory issues, such as people with autism who can benefit from features including white noise bubble tubes and adjustable, muted lighting. The building is designed to teach in a very different way. 

Lisa has worked with colleagues to embed professional skills, and the professional engineer, at the heart of the curriculum.  The very first things taught to student engineers are creativity, innovation, empathy and design, with a focus on the role of the engineer in society. 

We are on a mission to change the demographic in engineering!

Professor Lisa Brodie, Head of the Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol


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