According to statistics published by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), a mere 12.37% of all engineers in the UK are female. While it’s no secret that engineering has historically been a male-dominated industry, leading multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy Dice is challenging the stereotype and providing opportunities to encourage more women to enter the profession.

The East Midlands-based business prides itself on having a multicultural and diverse workforce, with 50% of staff being women. Having recently announced a raft of female hires and promotions, Dice has also invested in its apprenticeship scheme, which provides an ‘earn while you learn’ incentive during a time when traditional university pathways have been made difficult as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Iva Dimitrov, who recently joined Dice as a senior civil engineer, has more than five years of experience working on a variety of national schemes. She specialises in commercial developments and sustainable drainage design and has joined as the leader of the civil engineering team.

Iva said: “I have always known that I want to be in a profession where technical skills and problem solving are integral parts. I grew up in a small town in Bulgaria and my closest role models were my mother, who is a mathematician, and my father, who is an engineer, so naturally engineering was my first and desired career choice.”

Iva achieved her degree in civil engineering while studying in Bulgaria, after which she came to the UK and studied a master’s course in the subject at the University of Nottingham.

Iva added: “Shortly after graduating, I started my first job as a civil engineer and was fortunate to work for a manager who was not only a fantastic engineer, but also a great teacher. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of commercial projects in a busy, fast-paced environment, which helped me to learn a lot more about the industry.

“I feel incredibly proud to be part of such a thriving, client-focused and reputable consultancy like Dice, which is encouraging women from a multitude of backgrounds to pursue a career in engineering.”

Husna Gul – one of the apprentices at Dice – is another young woman who is carving out a successful career in engineering. Having initially applied to university after completing A-Levels in maths, physics and chemistry, Husna discovered the benefits of the apprenticeship route and withdrew her UCAS application.

Husna said: “Being the eldest child in the family, my parents were worried when I told them that I didn’t want to take the ‘traditional’ university route. However, after they looked into degree apprenticeships, they soon realised this was the right path for me and have been incredibly supportive of my decision.

“Engineering is such an exciting and fulfilling industry where no two days are the same. I have picked up a huge amount of knowledge in such a short space of time. When I first started, I could never have imagined I’d be able to do the kind of jobs I’m doing now, and that’s testament to both Dice and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) for creating a new pathway into the industry.”

Raj Somal, director of Dice, said: “For us, it’s imperative to have a diverse team – whether that be in relation to gender, ethnicity, race or religion. In past roles, I have experienced that non-diverse teams do not provide the best working environment, so we aim to buck the trend. The most important thing when starting the business was to create a positive place to work that is inclusive for everyone.”

Dice has recently been nominated for an award at this year’s Nottingham Trent University Apprenticeship Awards, which celebrates the hard work, success and achievements of the university’s apprentices and the employers who are engaged with NTU’s apprenticeship programmes.

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