An interview with Dr Nike Folayan about diversity in engineering

Apr 21, 2022

The media team at EngineeringUK carried out an interview with Dr Nike Folayan who is on the Board of Trustees. This interview had a focus on the importance of diversity in engineering and why the sector needs it to be able to thrive, as well as discussing why young people should consider a career in engineering.

“You can’t be what you can’t see”

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is an incredibly important part of engineering and making it attractive and open to everyone, everywhere. Nike Folayan emphasised that EDI is about equity and removing those barriers that stop certain groups of people from underrepresented backgrounds from entering a career in engineering.

For a long time, engineering has been seen as a career for a man and although this perception has faded overtime, only now are we seeing change. Changing the perception of engineering for Nike means showcasing people from all backgrounds because “if there are role models from a range of backgrounds who have had the same journeys, the same struggles and the same challenges as you have, you are more likely to think that it is something that you can do”.

“With diverse experiences comes innovation”

It is difficult to have innovation when everybody has the same backgrounds, the same struggles and the same outlook on life. For the world of engineering to move forward, we need to have diversity and break down the mould of engineering.

AFBELive is an upcoming event hosted by the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) to highlight the contributions of people from minoritised groups in the UK through innovation. Nike Folayan co-founded AFBE-UK following the shortage of engineering skills in the workforce and the under-representation of people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and after 15 years it is really inspiring to see the changes being made in the engineering community.

“Find the engineering that fits into what you want to do”

To secure the future workforce of engineers, there needs to be a collective effort towards making sure that every young person feels welcome in the engineering community. Barriers need to be stripped down in order for everyone to see engineering as an attractive and represented career.

Nike Folayan believes “engineering is everything. From the moment you wake up in the morning to brushing your teeth, to having a shower to going out, engineering is involved.” She encourages all young people to consider an engineering career because wherever you look, there is engineering and this means that you can make engineering fit into whatever your ambition is.

Watch the interview with Dr Nike Folayan.

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