National Women in Engineering Day 2016

National Women in Engineering Day was set up in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) on its 95th anniversary. Its aim is to open young women’s eyes to the exciting opportunities that exist in a career in engineering with a view to improving diversity and filling the skills shortage that is envisaged to arise in the sector.

We’ve supported Women in Engineering Day since it began, but this year is by far our greatest effort. With a dedicated working group focused on increasing and improving outreach with girls, today sees a number of events across our UK sites.

Our team at Malvern – working jointly with volunteers from Malvern Instruments, a local business – mentored 25 girls for the day, five each from five local schools. Activities include python coding, a cyber-code cracking challenge, technology demos, a Q&A session and networking.

MOD Boscombe Down hosted a networking event/coffee morning with school students, our own women engineers and representatives from other local companies, where the discussion centred on what inspired them to take up an engineering career. In the afternoon, STEM ambassadors visited St Edmunds Girls’ School to run some activities with the pupils.

Farnborough hosted 48 girls from local schools and organised a tour of our training facilities, a ‘meet and greet’ with engineers, and a variety of practical STEM activities.

The young women aged 10 – 11 were granted an insight into the work that our female engineers are involved in, ranging from deep underground in the simulated mine shafts of Australia right up to hundreds of kilometres above ground in our work supporting the International Space Station.

Down on the south coast, STEM ambassadors from Haslar & Portsdown Technology Park ran an event for girls at Portsmouth High School, with other local schools invited along to take part in a practical STEM workshop. The girls designed and made a lifting/grabbing mechanism to lift an item from one point to another.

Winfrith invited girls from Purbeck School for a half-day visit. The girls heard from engineers (including female role models) about how they got into engineering, took a tour of the site, and got involved in some practical activities.

Girls from Purbeck School visiting Winfrith

Colleagues at Rosyth, in conjunction with Fife Council, hosted a workshop for 36 girls at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline last week. Our people spoke to the girls about engineering careers and set them some practical tasks and challenges. The aims of the day were to dispelling myths and stereotypes about engineering, and show that there is a role within the world of engineering for all types of person and personality.

In Wales, our Aberporth site is holding their event in July to fit in with school holidays because they’re running a ‘Take your Daughter to Work’ day! Fifteen daughters aged between 10 and 16 are currently signed up, and the girls will be getting involved in ‘have a go’ STEM activities, tours of facilities, and demonstrations of survey and tracking equipment.