University of Northampton works with engineering firm to inspire women to enter trade

Girls have been encouraged by engineering firms to think about entering the trade at a fun day hosted by The University of Northampton.
Girls have been encouraged by engineering firms to think about entering the trade at a fun day hosted by The University of Northampton.
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Girls from across Northamptonshire got an interactive perspective into what a career in engineering is like upon visiting the University of Northampton to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day.

The event – 'Engineering isn’t just for blokes' – took place on Thursday, June 22 and was attended by over 100 school pupils aged between 11 and 14 from a variety of schools throughout the county.

The girls engaged in a range of activities, workshops and networking delivered by university staff and students to explore the wide range of career opportunities in engineering.

John Sinclair, dean of the faculty of arts, science and technology at the University of Northampton said: “We were delighted to host and support this annual event to promote careers in science and engineering to young female students from across the county.

"Despite concerted national efforts by a range of organisations over several years, gender imbalances persist in science and especially engineering. The fact that young women are not engaging in these professions means that the UK is missing out on a huge pool of talent.

“With partners such as RS Components, SATRA, Nissan, the Army Reserves and the expertise from our own academics and students we aimed to give the girls an opportunity to experience the excitement and challenge of engineering and science and be able to enthuse each other about what they learnt. Every girl who is inspired to take up science and engineering as they progress through their studies will help move the gender balance towards an equal position and will add new insights to UK businesses.”

The girls also had the chance to climb aboard the RS Live truck that took them on a tour through six interactive display zones displaying the many and varied aspects of RS’s global distribution business.

There were also talks from Christine Powley Williams, alumni of the university and Britain’s first female manager in the tannery industry and Marianne Culver, President of RS Global, about the skills that women bring to the engineering profession.

Linda Davis-Sinclair, University of Northampton schools engagement lead for the higher education schools engagement team said: “One teacher said ‘the event has been a great eye opener for the girls and allowed them to make choices about what activities they did.

"They were engaged and excited about science and engineering and were positively influenced by the inspirational talks and workshops'. One of the girls said to me later that they had really enjoyed the day and that it had made her realise that engineering was definitely a career open to girls like her.”