Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Breaking the mould: Lottie relishes Formula One role

Motorsport enthusiast 21-year-old Lottie Gilmore was encouraged into engineering while on Burgess Hill Girls Engineering Education Scheme

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 12, 2017 | Higher education

With women making up just 9% of the engineering workforce, student Lottie Gilmore knows first hand the vital role of schools in encouraging an early interest in an engineering career.

When Lottie, now 21, joined Burgess Hill Girls independent school in the sixth form, she says she didn’t know anything about engineering.

At a girls school, you’re free to be yourself. I just decided what interested me. With small year groups, there’s so much time for each person - Lottie Gilmore, Engineering student at Bath University

“At a girls school, you’re free to be yourself. I just decided what interested me. With small year groups, there’s so much time for each person,” she says.

Lottie, now a student on a five-year course in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath, is on a placement at the Williams Formula One team.

She says that although she had always enjoyed physics and maths, the idea of an engineering career was a long way from her mind.

The school pushed her to do extra-curricular activities via its Engineering Education Scheme, which linked students with a local engineering company, Photek Ltd. She was also mentored by one of the company’s women engineers.

“That was a massive push forward for me,” says Lottie. “When you see women in the industry, you have someone to look up to”.

After A-levels in Physics, Maths and Chemistry, and Further Maths and Biology at AS, Lottie is loving her placement as a Junior Design Engineer with Williams, where she is a member of the design team responsible for the steering suspension and brakes.

Lottie’s role at Williams involves designing components to meet a specific set of requirements. This includes modelling parts using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, producing engineering drawings and sending them to the on-site Machine Shop for manufacture.

With constant updates to Formula One cars to improve performance, Lottie says it’s a thrill to see some of the parts she has designed being raced on the current FW40.

When she was sent over to the Monaco Grand Prix, she says it brought home to her the contribution she was making. “To think ‘I designed that bit of the suspension’ is really satisfying.”

It’s a far cry from when, as a child, she used to watch Formula One on TV with her father.

Back at the Williams factory, she says she sees the team’s drivers, Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, walking around the shop floor and in discussion with the engineering team.

In general, Formula One can be a male-dominated industry. However, Lottie says it’s not an issue at Williams: “You feel like everyone else on the team. I think it’s sometimes perceived that there’s a gender barrier when there may not be. You notice in meetings that you’re one of only one or two women but it in no way affects your work.” 

Reflecting on when exactly she decided to opt for engineering, Lottie says it was half-way through the First Year Sixth at Burgess Hill.

“Engineering is difficult for schools because it’s not on the curriculum, but I think I probably wouldn’t have been doing engineering without Burgess Hill Girls.”

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

Free MOOC on autism support launched by University of Bath

STEM day hosted by PPMA BEST to encourage next gen engineers

Engineering challenge launched by IET and Thorpe Park Resort

The role of the teacher in shaping the future of the world

Choosing the right path into engineering

Girls get into STEM engineering at Renishaw

Workplace discrimination continues for female engineers

Maynard robotics team take home UK's only trophy

Sunderland invests £1m into its School of Engineering

International drone competition crowns Bath students

Market place - view all

Compass

Compass Computer Consultants Ltd. has been designing and implement...

Monitor IT

The cashless campus is becoming more of a reality. Universities and...

ViewSonic

ViewSonic® Corporation, headquartered in Walnut, California, is...

Netgear

Welcome to the New School of Wireless.
Digital textbooks. Onl...

Moxton Education

The Moxton Group is a specialist organisation focused in the Educat...

Promethean

Effective teaching is the key to successful, collaborative and pers...