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Industry Leader Urges Young Females To Choose A Career In Engineering

This International Women in Engineering Day (June 23), Sina Cotter-Tait, a Christchurch-based engineer and board member for Engineering NZ, is calling for more young women to consider engineering as a career.

The purpose of this year’s celebration is to raise awareness of the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.

According to the Association of Consulting and Engineering, only around 16% of the current engineering workforce in New Zealand is female.

“Engineering and tech must be people-focussed, and if solutions are to work for all people, then we need to understand how different people experience the world and its problems differently,” explains Sina.

“So it is so important that we have gender diversity amongst our engineers. Engineering is a career for everyone.”

Sina has an impressive resume including a PhD in Construction Management, an MBA and a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering. She is the Director of Collective Success, a Panel Member of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Panel, a board member of CEAS and an Independent Director of the North Otago Irrigation Company.

Alongside her many other roles, Sina is a New Zealand judge for the 2020 James Dyson Award, encouraging university students and recent graduates to put their skills to good use.

Sina’s philosophy about engineering aligns perfectly with the James Dyson Award’s purpose of designing something that solves a problem.

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“Encouraging our rangatahi - young Kiwis to look for creative ways to solve problems is a kaupapa I endorse whole-heartedly and I’m thrilled to be involved in helping identify the best local designers and engineers and the best ideas that will help to make a real difference in the world,” says Sina.

“Engineering is one of those jobs where you’re part of turning an idea from a pencil sketch into a real life thing, that solves a problem, and that’s satisfying. Most engineers I know are motivated by building a better, safer world for future generations, and that’s what makes it so rewarding. The only question for women considering engineering in Aotearoa-NZ is – why wouldn’t you?”

More about the James Dyson Award 2020:

The Competition:
The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It's open to current and recent design engineering students, and is run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson’s charitable trust, as part of its mission to get young people excited about design engineering.

The Prize
Prize values will be calculated at time of payment and are approximately as follows:
The International winner receives a prize of $55,000, plus $9,500 for the winner’s university.
The Sustainability winner receives a prize of $55,000.
The two International runners-up receive $9,500.
Each National winner receives $3,500.

Sustainability Winner
In 2020, the James Dyson Award has introduced a new, additional prize that recognises efforts in sustainability. The Sustainability winner will be chosen by Sir James Dyson from the international top 20 finalists. Potential winners of this accolade will have paid close attention to their invention’s part in today’s sustainable agenda. This could be through its materials, design process, methods of manufacture, or even the solution to the invention itself.

The deadline to apply: Midnight PST on 16 July 2020. For more information, go to

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