Case Studies

Event challenges stereotype of engineering as a ‘job for the boys’

Students from 11 Suffolk secondary schools got an insight into the world of engineering as part of International Women in Engineering Day 2018.

Girls at at Women in Engineering Event in Chippenham. Picture: Warren Page

Pupils from Felixstowe Academy, Ipswich High School and Stradbroke High School were among more than 20 schools from across East Anglia that attended the East of England’s Women in Engineering Event in Chippenham, near Newmarket on 21st June.

Sponsored by ScottishPower Renewables, the event celebrated the next generation of women engineers, demonstrating how women are ‘raising the bar’ in pursuit of more diversity in engineering.

Victoria Sinclair, supply chain strategy manager at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Sadly a lot of girls don’t see engineering as a career choice. and women make up less than 10% of the engineering workforce. Today’s event is hugely important in tackling the industry stereotype of men in boiler suits and hard hats – it has shown the girls how innovative, challenging and exciting engineering can be and how it is a career choice open to all, regardless of gender.”

Hosted by the charity Connect Education and Business, the event is part of a global awareness scheme, coordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), which seeks to increase the profile of female engineers and focus attention on engineering career opportunities available to women. Attendees were also able to interact with a variety of exhibits from STEM companies in industries as diverse as offshore wind energy, marine and civil engineering, while speakers outlined their personal experiences in engineering and opportunities available within the sector.

Hayley Oakes, marine engineer at Women in Engineering Event in Chippenham. Picture: Warren Page

During the day Ipswich Academy was announced as the winning school in the ScottishPower Renewables’ No Waste Challenge. The competition involved students investigating sources of waste from their home or school before designing a plan to achieve zero waste by 2020. The youngsters then gave a short presentation to a panel of judges showcasing their waste reduction proposal. The winning team received £500 for their school.

Julia Bolton, assistant project manager at ScottishPower Renewables and No Waste World challenge judge, said: “It was a tough competition to judge due to the very high standard of entries and innovative ideas all the schools presented.

“Clearly a lot of research and hard work had gone into the projects and we were particularly impressed by how passionate the team from Ipswich Academy were in sharing their plan with their whole school and families at home.”

Other Suffolk schools who attended the event included Chantry Academy, Hartismere School, Mildenhall College Academy and Thurston Community College.