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28 February 2018

Wiltshire College doubles numbers of pupils attending bespoke event to inspire the next generation of female engineers

Robot wars, biscuit bridges and navigating spacecraft were just some of the inspiring activities female pupils got to take part in at a Wiltshire College event showcasing the wealth of careers in engineering.

More than 270 Year 10 pupils from across Wiltshire including Salisbury and Swindon, as well as Bristol and Dorset, attended the Women in Engineering event at the Chippenham campus on Friday 23rd February where they were able to meet and talk with professionals from the industry including Zircon, Qinetiq, Airbus, Avon Rubber plc, the Army, Royal Air Forces, Society of Cosmetic Scientists as well as UWE, Bournemouth, Southampton and South Wales universities.

The College’s IT, Agriculture and Engineering departments were also talking to students and showcasing the range of full time courses and apprenticeships available.

The event, now in its second year, was hosted by the College to educate and inspire teenage girls to consider a career in engineering and raise awareness of the varied range of careers within the industry and across the region.

Fourteen-year-old Emily Fews, from Oldfield School in Bath, said: “Even though I am surrounded by engineers in my family, I didn’t realise just how many different types of careers in engineering were available so I’ve learned a lot and also had a lot of fun.”

Maisy Lang, 14, is from Blandford School.

She said: “I really enjoyed trying out different activities and particularly liked talking to the cosmetic companies as I didn’t realise that this could be related to engineering.

“I also liked that all the activities were made fun as that really made it interesting and appealing.”

The event began with a talk from guest speaker Alessandra Scholl Sternberg, a Systems Engineer for Siemens Rail Automation, who studied physics engineering at the Federal University of Porto Alegre in Brazil.

The 23-year-old was inspirational as she talked about her career to date and the positives of a career in engineering.

She said: “I wanted to dispel any misconceptions about being a woman in the industry through talking about my own journey and career.

“The possibilities are endless and throughout my degree I was able to spend time in many different areas learning about everything from star clusters and automation to control systems and robotics!

“Engineering is a male dominated field, but it really doesn’t matter. I have never faced any situations where I haven’t been as valued as anyone else so I would say not to worry about that.

“Choosing a career is tough, there are so many choices but follow your dreams and if it is in engineering, it’s very rewarding, future shaping, well paid and in demand.”

Pupils were then able to explore all the different activities spread across three zones.

Wiltshire College Principal Amanda Burnside said: “We were delighted to welcome double the number of students to this year’s Women in Engineering and it was fantastic to see schools travel from as far as Dorset, as well as those more local to us.

“There is a real shortage of skilled engineers across the whole of the UK, but particularly too few females go into engineering and so we need to make young people aware of the incredible careers within that industry open to them now so that they can plan for their futures.”

To see more photographs from the event visit our Facebook page.