2015 Karen Burt Winner Announced


This year’s winner of one of the most prestigious prizes in engineering –the Karen Burt Award - is a born problem solver and champion of engineering for women and girls.
Helen Randell, a chartered civil engineer who graduated only five years ago, started acting as an ambassador for the engineering profession while she was still a student at Cambridge. Since then she has worked on major projects with Interserve Construction including Severn Trent Water, Glasgow Energy from Waste Scheme, motorway and A-road new junctions and widening and Hereford and Worcestershire Energy from Waste Scheme.
Her work on these projects, coupled with a significant contribution to the promotion of engineering to young people and women in particular, has earned her a place on the roll call of winners of the Karen Burt Award, given by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to honour the best of the year’s newly qualified women engineers.
During her career, Helen has mentored many young people embarking on careers in engineering; presented at science fairs; given talks to schools and even developed her own school learning packs to introduce children to surveying, earthquakes, bridge building, water filtration and renewable energy. She continues to inspire young engineers through her new role at Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd while mentoring engineering apprentices.
Linda Maynard, chair of the judging panel for the award, said: “As in previous years the nominees were of an exceptional standard with very few marks separating the top four candidates. Helen’s application was remarkable in all aspects of the judging criteria and all three judges agree she is a very worthy winner of the 2015 Award.”  
Helen said of her award: “I am thrilled and honoured to receive this prestigious award.  I feel extremely fortunate that my love of problem solving has formed the basis of my career. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to share my experiences with other young women and to know that some have been inspired to join the exciting and ever changing world of engineering where we really can make a difference.”
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Head of Education and Inspiration, John Laverty, added: “We are delighted to see Helen presented with this highly valued award - she is an articulate, engaging engineer who exudes passion and conviction. Helen greatly impressed her professional review panel with her knowledge, aptitude and leadership potential, and she has impressed many others through her enthusiasm for ICE initiatives and her drive to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She is an outstanding example of a chartered civil engineer in every respect and will be an excellent role model for others on their path towards professional qualification.”
The award will be presented at a ceremony during the WES Prestige Lecture Evening at the IET, Savoy Place, London on Wednesday 4 November 2015, entitled ‘Bridges: Past, Present and Future.’

Editors notes

  • The Women’s Engineering Society (WES)  has worked to inspire women in engineering and allied sciences for 95 years; promotes careers in engineering; supports companies with gender diversity; and speaks as the collective voice of women engineers. Find out more at www.wes.org.uk
  • Karen Burt was a member of the Women’s Engineering Society Council and a tireless campaigner for the recruitment and retention of women in engineering. A gifted engineer, the award is in her memory.
  • ICE is a leading source of professional expertise in transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy. Established in 1818, it has over 86,000 members, 24% of whom are based overseas. ICE’s vision is to place civil engineering at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise. ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy. www.ice.org.uk
  • The Presentation of the Karen Burt Award takes place at the Prestige Lecture Bridges: Past, Present and Future takes place on 4 November 2015 at IET Savoy Place. Registration is free and bookings can be made here.

Media enquiries to: Dawn Bonfield, President, WES on office@wes.org.uk or 01438 211403 or Zoë Howard zoehoward@caxtoncomms.co.uk or 07552 951999