Girls into Engineering is committed to a program of events aimed at encouraging girls to take an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects so that they consider careers in related areas, particularly engineering. We run a variety of activities to engage with female pupils, these include; visits to local engineering companies, engineering awareness days and visits to engineering departments in Welsh universities. These activities are aimed at 12 to 16 year old female pupils.
Visits to local engineering companies are arranged and a typical visit involves the pupils meeting employees who discuss their background and roles within the company. They also gain an insight into the company’s activities, experiencing what goes on and developing an appreciation for the different environments that exist.
Pupils will be asked to discuss their observations and offer opinions related to working in an industrial environment. They will be encouraged to relate their observations to their school subjects, particularly STEM, and discuss how their choice of GCSE subjects will influence their own possible career path.
It is hoped that pupils will appreciate the relevance of science, maths and technology in the work place, as well as becoming more aware of the career opportunities open to women in the world of engineering.
A variety of engineering companies have been visited and students have had the opportunity to learn about how cosmetics are produced, body replacement parts manufactured, coins produced in their thousands, wheel chairs redesigned to improve a patient’s quality of life and witness the manufacture of domestic and commercial products.
These are outdoor activities designed to provide students with the opportunity to meet, work and exchange ideas with equally motivated students from several schools throughout Wales. Each day’s activities include team building, problem solving and decision making activities, as well as on site engineering construction. Pupils are able to use and develop essential and key skills.
Activities vary and include constructing a buggy to transport items from point A to B overland, balancing while creating walkways with planks from barrel to barrel and creating structures suitable for manoeuvring heavy items across an imaginary valley.
Pupils will get the opportunity to visit university engineering departments, where they will be given a tour of the facilities and engage with activities under the supervision of university staff. The day is designed to show what university life is like and to encourage girls to consider going to university to study STEM subjects.
The programme for each visit will involve:
During the 2010-2011 academic year, over 300 female pupils participated in Girls into Engineering activities. These activities influence the preconceived understanding of engineering and career opportunities. This is demonstrated by 87% of pupils disagreeing that engineering is “just for boys” after participating in these events. The pupils’ understanding of what engineering is about increased by 54%, and 94% agreed that they understood that there are many different types of engineering.
Girls into Engineering is an on-going programme and teachers wishing their pupils to be considered for such activities should contact EESW to find out what is being planned.