Scottish Engineering (SE) has its first woman president in a history spanning more than 150 years.
Aine Finlayson, director of manufacturing at temporary power firm Aggreko, was appointed to the role by executive board members at their annual meeting.
She will hold the title of president for two years, with Bernie O’Neil, head of operations at Thales UK, assuming the position of vice-president.
The all-woman duo is groundbreaking for an industry traditionally dominated by men.
SE is the industry membership association for engineering and manufacturing in
Scotland, with a heritage dating back to 1865.
It connects and supports organisations across a diverse, sector, with its membership accounting for more than one-third of all employment in engineering and manufacturing north of the border.
Ms Finlayson, who boasts a master’s degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “I am delighted to be elected as
the Scottish Engineering president, having been part of the executive committee for over 10 years.
“As the first female president in the history of Scottish Engineering, I’m looking forward to continuing the good work that has been achieved, embracing the challenges of today’s world and the transition to a low carbon economy.”
She added she was also looking forward to acting as a role model to encourage more diversity across the Scottish engineering industry.
Commenting on her new role, Ms O’Neil said: “I am grateful for the opportunity to give more back to the engineering profession, which has given me so much.”
SE chief executive Paul Sheerin said both women continued the organisation’s “enviable record of such quality” in its president and vice presidents.
He added: “Aine takes the helm at a time where the pace of
change of both challenge and opportunity has never been more rapid.
“I don’t think we could be better supported than by someone with her experience, knowledge and balance.”
Women engineers are still thin on the ground but some progress is being made to rectify the gender imbalance.
It comes after the UK’s largest broadband network – used by customers of hundreds of companies including BT, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – made a decision to put the language it uses to recruit employees under the microscope.
Significant changes have been made throughout Openreach to the way jobs are advertised, helping drive big improvements in the number of women coming into new roles.
The company is recruiting some 275 people into roles across Scotland in the current financial year.
To date, 17% of the intake are women – a statistic that in previous years stood in single digits.
The new recruits are mainly to support the roll-out of ultrafast full-fibre broadband.
Openreach Scotland board chairwoman Katie Milligan said: “We’d like to see more women choose careers in engineering, particularly here at Openreach, so we’ve been trying to address that. I’m delighted to see it’s starting to work.”