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Aerospace engineers join employer Leonardo's drive for diversity

By Lorna Thompson

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DIVERSITY is vital for innovation, according to two aerospace engineering employees.

Systems engineers Hania Mohiuddin and Dr Javid Khan work for Leonardo, which supplies the CAPTOR radar used by Typhoon aircraft stationed at RAF Lossiemouth.

Leonardo is pushing forward sophisticated technology in the electronics sector, with programmes running to 2050 and beyond.

But the company says it needs to attract a more diverse pool of job applicants to achieve its ambitious goals.

The firm says the more diverse the backgrounds, skills and perspectives of their team, the better the innovation produced.

Hania started her role in April last year on the Tempest project after being inspired to change career path by a visit to the 2018 Farnborough International Air Show.

With Tempest expected to be a transformational project that will see a combat aircraft designed and built faster and at lower cost than previous generation fighters, Leonardo wants to bring in people from a range of backgrounds that are less represented in its current workforce.

Hania has represented her employer at high-profile engineering STEM events to encourage young people, and girls in particular, to consider engineering.

Systems engineer for Leonardo Hania Mohiuddin, who is based at RAF Lossiemouth.
Systems engineer for Leonardo Hania Mohiuddin, who is based at RAF Lossiemouth.

Hania said: "For me, when I talk about diversity, it means someone who is able to bring a diverse perspective because of their knowledge and experience.

"So for example, I know someone who is a windfarm manager who is also an ex-RAF technician and has a side job as a mountain rescuer. He has a unique breadth of experiences that allow him to offer valuable input in a range of different settings.

"Diversity is about more than someone’s cultural or ethnic background. It is the understanding they can bring as a whole person, incorporating all of the knowledge that is drawn from experience."

Javid, who also works on the Tempest programme, cites Scottish scientist and engineer James Clerk Maxwell as among the thinkers who inspired him.

Dr Javid Khan with a holographic 3D display showing a Typhoon model.
Dr Javid Khan with a holographic 3D display showing a Typhoon model.

Javid said: "Monolithic thinking is what happens if you don’t employ a diverse range of people.

"If you want to succeed in international business, or manage international projects, you need to gather experience of working with different cultures.

"Diversity of thought is very important and that comes from people from a rich canvas of backgrounds and cultures. For me true diversity is really about what you can bring intellectually – to be able to see different perspectives and points of view."

Leonardo is keen to hear from new talent who can offer a different view of innovation.

Mark Hamilton, managing director at Leonardo Electronics UK, said: "Some of the technology we’re creating right now has never been attempted before and we want to offer an environment where people from very different backgrounds and disciplines can have genuine and healthy debates about the best solution.

"The bottom line is that the more diverse our workforce, the better our innovation gets."

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