Selection panel for EW BrightSparks decides Class of 2022

Selection panel for EW BrightSparks decides Class of 2022

We will be contacting those involved in the coming days, but the class of 2022 will be made public following the main Awards Day itself, which takes place on Friday 17 June at the IET’s Savoy Place in London. And we shall be profiling them in more detail then onwards, highlighting their achievements (both online and in print).

Difficult

Thank you to one and all who took the time to enter and who made the final decision process so difficult. The Selection Panel had the difficult job of cutting down the nominations to a final total of 30, to make up the Class of 2022.

As in previous years, they hailed the talent and enthusiasm of the entries, with a particular emphasis on the altruistic commitment to community STEM programmes. A very impressive set of entries, the panel all agreed.


The standard was indeed very high again this year – which we look forward to highlighting in our series of profiles – and we hope any entrants who are not featured will not be too disheartened.

As a sign of the times the Selection Panel meeting was virtual this year. Full of industry expertise and knowledge, the EW BrightSparks 2022 judges comprised (alphabetically):

  • Clive Couldwell (Group Editor, Electronics Weekly)
  • Graham Curren (CEO, Sondrel)
  • Dr. Ollie Folayan (Co-founder, Chairman, AFBE-UK)
  • Tim Mamtora (Chief of Innovation, Imagination Technologies)
  • Isabella Mascarenhas (Vice President, Grass Roots & Shining Stars, RS Components)
  • Lindsley Ruth (CEO, RS Components)
  • Lizzie Truett (Young Professionals Strategic Development Manager, IET)
  • Nadja Yang (President, European Young Engineers (EYE))

Inspiring the industry

Why are we doing this? Electronics Weekly, in partnership with RS Components, believes that by celebrating the achievements of the most talented young people in the electronics world, we can play a significant role in inspiring and encouraging new entrants to the industry. This is particularly important in the context of the industry’s ongoing skills gap, with the efforts of the UK government and other organisations to encourage greater take-up in schools and universities of STEM and engineering-related subjects. Not to mention the Covid-19 pandemic.

Culture

Discussing the strength of the entrants, the judges’ discussion turned to how better to help promote engineering in general, and electronics engineering in particular, to younger people.

Clive Couldwell highlighted the early and important role played by education. “How do schools help make engineering an exciting industry to enter? That’s where the discontinuity first takes place. Who inspires you most? It’s the teacher you had.”

Iasabella Mascarenhas noted the “the diverse blend of entrants to BrightSparks don’t reflect the industry” as it stands. There’s still a large need to encourage people from diverse backgrounds into the industry

“How can we, the individual, move the dial?” she questioned. “We have to collaborate but what does that look like?” And one thing the panelists agreed on was the need for diversity.  Lizzie Truett summarized it as the importance of  “getting the voice through of under-represented people. If you only hear the same voices. you’re only going to do things the same way.”

“Diversity of thought brings innovation,” agreed Tim Mamtora.

For his part, Lindsley Ruth highlighted that, in social terms, responsibilities that once were shared across state, church or business are now increasingly left to business. “How can we scale up community programmes and initiatives? It’s left to businesses to plug the gap.”

Ollie Folayan widened the question, to being one of culture, and making engineering more central to society. “There needs to be a bridging of the gap between human industry and culture. What we do as engineers needs to be part of our discourse in society.”

Tim Mamtora agreed, wishing to highlight the role of engineering in the modern world, for the public  to “connect things in everyday life [with engineering] and to consider how they got there.”

Actions

But to keep us all on our toes and avoid complacency with EW BrightSparks, Lindsley Ruth concluded: “Recognition programmes are important, but if we’re to increase diversity in engineering it’s also what comes next: mentoring and advocacy. And how exactly do you we become advocates, to make this last over time?”

Answering his own question, he cited the excellent words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Your actions have to speak so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Important questions, for another article.

Stay tuned for more news and of course the Awards Day itself, when the winners will be celebrated – simply bookmark www.electronicsweekly.com/brightsparks/

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