A leading toy engineer is calling for more to be done to encourage creative-minded youngsters to take up the profession in the UK.
Award-nominated toy developer Mamta Singhal, believes that the importance of engineers can often be overlooked within the industry, owing to the ‘dull image’ commonly associated with the profession.
A finalist in the 2007 Young Women Engineer Awards, Singhal currently operates as Mattel’s project quality engineer, and has helped develop products across the Barbie, Monster High, Thomas and Scrabble brands.
However, unhappy that the profession is ‘still under-valued in the UK’ when compared to the US, Germany and Africa, she has now made it her mission to change the image of the role, and inspire the next generation of toy fans to take up the career.
“Being a toy engineer is one of the most fulfilling professions I can think of,” Singhal told ToyNews.
“But if I could change one thing, it would be to improve the image engineers have and how the function is type-cased. The engineering field has a dull image, and I and many others are trying to redress this.
“New-age engineers are driven, business savvy, technical and creative,” she explained.
In the US, 33 per cent of the top 500 CEOs have a degree in engineering, and Mamata is quick to point out that roles within the sector can often lead to highly successful careers within the toy industry.
"Engineers can come with many cross-functional skills, so I have found many of my fellow engineers have moved in to technology, innovation and marketing fields and they have done very well," she said.
"I have been invited to some amazing events over the years and I would strongly encourage more - particularly women - to become professional engineers, after all what other field allows you to influence the future product development on an international level."
Concerned that women make up only six per cent of the engineering industry, Mamta is also keen to inspire the emergence of the next generation of female engineers.
"I don't just think it is the toy industry that struggles to understand engineers," she continued. "In the UK, it is a wider issue and I truly believe the profession is misunderstood.
"I work closely with the Institution of Engineering and Technology's Women's Network and thankfully, there are lots of awards, support groups and mentoring programmes to support the younger female generation.
"The IET has just appointed its first female president and I hope Naomi Climer and the others will drive home the importance of having technical and innovative minds at the forefront of the industry and are not viewed as a support function to the others," she concluded.