Moray woman hailed as one of the best young engineers in the UK

Steph McGovern, Judith Mair and Semta CEO Ann Watson
Steph McGovern, Judith Mair and Semta CEO Ann Watson

A young Moray woman has been crowned as one of the UK’s best engineers.

Judith Mair was named “the best of British engineering” at the prestigious awards event in London.

Miss Mair is from Portknockie but now works for Rolls-Royce in Derby, and she received a standing ovation from more than 500 engineering luminaries as she capped her rise to success at the ceremony.

The 21-year-old also won the apprentice of the year prize at the Semta Skills Awards.

Judges hailed her as an inspiration, at a time when efforts are being made across Scotland to encourage teenage girls into a career in engineering.

Yesterday, the stunned award-winner said: “I am humbled and honoured, I don’t feel I deserve it because there are so many others out there who work hard for their companies.”

After taking on the apprenticeship aged 18, Miss Mair has become a “passionate” ambassador for apprenticeships and for engineering.

She has volunteered at numerous Rolls-Royce apprenticeship open evenings and skills festivals, hosted work-experience students, explained apprenticeships to scholarship students and even represented the company at parliament.

Miss Mair added: “When I left school I didn’t know how broad and vast engineering was.

“Wherever people are from, I would really encourage them to go for it, there is always a new challenge around the corner in engineering.

“I would also like to thank everyone in Rolls-Royce, my family and friends for their amazing support as without it I wouldn’t have made it to here.”

Semta, a not for profit industry led organisation aiming to equip the UK with enough engineers to help industry thrive, gathered a senior panel of industry experts to oversee the awards.

The group’s chief executive, Ann Watson, said: “Miss Mair is a credit to the industry – a driven young engineer, making an extraordinary impact at the peak of her profession.

“She is an icon for other young people and hopes her story will inspire individuals from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in this exciting sector.

“She is exactly the sort of role model we need, if we are to continue to thrive as a nation in engineering.”

The ceremony, at the Park Plaza Westminster hotel was hosted by BBC TV presenter, and engineer in her own right, Steph McGovern.

Ms McGovern later took to social networking website Twitter to express her delight at presenting prizes to the “fab apprentices”.

The gathering attracted some of the most prominent engineering firms in the country, such as Rolls-Royce, Siemens, BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover and the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.