Apache officer named Young Woman Engineer of the Year

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An officer who helped keep the British Army's Apache attack helicopters flying in the demanding environments of Afghanistan and Libya has been named Young Woman Engineer of the Year.

Aircraft engineering officer Captain Charlotte Joyce, of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (4 Regt AAC), was honoured by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Captain Joyce’s job is to manage the day-to-day maintenance of Apaches, both back at the unit’s base in Wattisham and on operations. This summer the 29-year-old served onboard HMS Ocean as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR helping to protect civilians in Libya. It was the first time Apaches had flown strike missions from Royal Navy ships, and presented unique maintenance challenges. She also served in Afghanistan in 2010.

Captain Joyce said:

It’s a great honour to be named Young Woman Engineer of the Year. I was nominated by my line manager for the work I have done in the last 18 months on operations.

I will act as an ambassador to promote women in engineering, visiting schools to inspire young women to think about engineering as a career.

Historically there have been barriers to women in engineering and a lack of positive role models. I’ve never faced any issues as a female engineer in the Army and a career in engineering has given me excellent opportunities.

Captain Joyce, who studied at Bristol University, worked at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada for 18 months and helped to train soldiers at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering before joining 4 Regt AAC in 2009. The two operations she has deployed on have presented very different challenges. She said:

Afghanistan is very hot and sandy, whereas on HMS Ocean we had to deal with damp, cold and salty conditions and the confined spaces of a ship. But the aircraft is extremely robust and has been very successful at operating in these very different environments, and the technicians I manage are just as capable and well-trained to deal with whatever is asked of them.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Etherington, Commanding Officer of 4 Regt AAC, said:

I congratulate Captain Joyce on being named Young Woman Engineer of the Year. The award is richly deserved and reflects the calibre of people employed in the military and the challenging work they carry out in demanding circumstances.

Captain Charlotte Joyce with TV presenter Myleene Klass at the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards 2011
Captain Charlotte Joyce with TV presenter Myleene Klass at the Institution of Engineering and Technology Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards 2011 [Picture: © Christian Trampenau, All Rights Reserved]

The award was presented to Captain Joyce by TV presenter Myleene Klass at a ceremony in London.

Ben Rudd, Head of Communications at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said,

Winning this award marks out Captain Charlotte Joyce as a world class engineer, as she has beaten extremely stiff competition.

She’ll now go on to be a champion for all women who have become professional engineers and, even more importantly, she will be a fantastic example to young women everywhere to seriously consider an exciting and rewarding career in engineering. We are delighted to be able to support her in this important work.