All female panel say drive to net zero can attract more women to engineering

An all-female panel of built environment experts gathered recently for international M&E consultancy CPW’s ‘INWED 2023: Sustainability in the Second City’ roundtable to discuss the importance of retrofitting to tackle net zero and why sustainability is a significant opportunity to attract more women to the engineering industry.   

Held at CPW’s city centre office on Colmore Row, the event saw a ten-strong panel of local experts discuss a wide range of topics for International Women in Engineering Day. This included where Birmingham is on its journey to becoming net zero by 2030 and how far funding will stretch, through to the pros and cons of well recognised sustainability accreditations and how engaging with educators will help increase industry diversity.  

Hannah Kissick, associate in innovations and sustainability at CPW, said: “It was very inspiring to host an event attended by women with impressive and extensive experience in the built environment. The range of topics we covered and the enthusiasm for collaboration during and after the session definitely gave me confidence that more solutions can be found for our journey to net zero in Birmingham and for creating a more accessible industry.  

“Where there is a challenge there is always an opportunity, and this event reminded me that we can harness the interest in sustainability among the younger generation to position engineering as a key industry needed to meet sustainability targets.”  

The professionals in attendance explored the processes of value engineering and design, asking questions of each other about how the gap between vision and reality can be bridged. However, factors such as cost and assurance were understandably noted as potential barriers to success. Despite this, an optimistic tone was maintained throughout the event due to the shared recognition of the quality young minds that are on the cusp of bringing new ideas into the industry.  

Ellie Hignett, principal portfolio officer – Route to Net Zero Carbon at Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s so important that occasions like International Women in Engineering Day continue to be celebrated and events like the one hosted by CPW continue to be supported. They bring important stakeholders together and enable vital industries like engineering to debate how we can overcome shared challenges – like net zero.   

“While funding plays a key role in what we can achieve in Birmingham, we must also invest time in education. Without the people needed in positions to focus on net zero, there is no infrastructure to carry out the work. We must also continue to use cooperation between the public and private sector to create a baseline for what is achievable, with retrofit being a very topical example amid ongoing debate around the best approach.”  

The panel was hosted by CPW, chaired by Charlotte Dove (Cartwright Communications) and featured Hannah Kissick (CPW), Michelle Ward (CPW), Tiv Kaur (AA Projects), Isabel Scruby (HUB Residential), Dr Monica Mateo-Garcia (Birmingham City University), Justine Doody (Wates), Rosie Peach-Robinson (EDGE), Rachel Care (Turner and Townsend), Ellie Hignett (Birmingham City Council) and Lois Taylor (Naismiths).   

With more than 300 staff based across 13 offices including two international offices in Poland and India, CPW specialises in designing and integrating a full range of building services into new and existing buildings to deliver cutting edge sustainable solutions that are not only energy efficient but are both financially and environmentally sustainable for clients.    

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