University initiative highlights engineering careers for women
Published:  17 July, 2015

A university initiative has proved to 12 and 13 year-old girls that engineering can be an enjoyable career for women, in a bid to address the fact that only 6% of engineers in the UK are female.

Schoolgirls from across the Midlands gathered at Birmingham City University for a series of fun workshops and talks to celebrate National Women in Engineering Day.

The ‘Women in Engineering’ event saw female students participate in a host of activities aimed to raise awareness of career opportunities in engineering and challenge existing stereotypical perceptions of working in the sector.

Speaking at the event, Sarah Ward, a pipeline engineer for engineering services firm Penspen, said: “There’s a big lack of understanding of what engineering actually is and people need to realise that it’s not just about fixing cars.

“Young girls need inspirational role models and we’re not seeing enough of those in the engineering sector.”

Held at the University’s City Centre Campus, the day saw Year 8 students from schools including Bordesley Green Girls’ School and Tamworth Enterprise College participate in problem-solving challenges, creating solutions that could be applied in Nepal to safely transport tomatoes from the top of a mountain, across a river and to a market for selling.

Laura Leyland, lecturer at Birmingham City University’s School of Engineering, Design and Manufacturing Systems, said: “We can’t just point the finger at schools to help address the need for more females in engineering, industry needs to speak up too and shout about what they need.”

Only 6% of Britain's engineers are female, while China produces 20-times more engineers than the UK every year - one in three of which are women.

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