ENGINEERING organisations from across the region have led a drive to get more young women considering careers in the sector at an event attended by scores of school pupils.
Around 80 female pupils from Darlington secondary schools attended the joint Foundation for Jobs/Darlington College Women in Engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) event last week.(21/6/16)
The event, hosted by the town’s green business park Lingfield Point, gave pupils the chance to meet engineers, many of them female, and take part in practical activities, delivered by the companies, aimed at demonstrating the wide range of roles in the sector.
Companies taking part included Darlington based Amec Foster Wheeler and subsea firm Modus Seabed Intervention, sheet metalwork company Hydram at Chilton, STEM organisation Go Ahead training at Newton Aycliffe, RTC North, which runs the STEM Ambassador programme in the North-East and Darlington College.
Modus ran a subsea robotics task, while Go Ahead was able to demonstrate the importance of computer coding in modern engineering.
Pupils were able to meet female apprentices from Hydram, who took part in an engineering challenge with them and Amec Foster Wheeler ran a welding with chocolate task delivered by female engineers.
RTC North delivered an Engineering in a Box activity while Darlington College ran STEM tasks based around forensic science and drug testing.
A Foundation for Jobs spokesman said: “The feedback we have had from the schools which participated is that the pupils went away feeling inspired and with a much better understanding of the range of roles within engineering and STEM sectors in general.
“This was reflected by the range of activities provided by the companies from computer coding and subsea robots to design engineering and the chance for the pupils to meet inspiring women who had entered the sector in a variety of ways either through an apprenticeship or at graduate level.
“This is particularly important as despite great progress in recent years there are still far fewer women than men accessing careers in engineering and STEM related disciplines, so this event demonstrated to young women the opportunities that exist in this challenging and varied employment sector.
“We would like to thank all the companies who gave up their time to take part, with all of them very keen to inspire the next generation.”
Foundation for Jobs is a joint initiative involving The Northern Echo, Darlington Borough Council, schools, colleges and the Darlington Partnership of private firms and public sector organisations, which has also enjoyed support from businesses and industrialists across the whole North-East region.
Since May this year The Royal Academy of Engineering has part funded the national award winning initiative which has worked with more than 6,000 young people since its launch in 2012.
Its overall aim is to reduce youth unemployment by matching young people’s aspirations with those sectors such as engineering which are vital to the North-East’s economy but which many young people are not pursuing because of incorrect perceptions of the type of work involved.
Regionally it is facing significant skills gaps with around 8,500 skilled workers due to retire from engineering and manufacturing roles in the region in the next few years.
For details on Foundation for Jobs contact programme manager Owen McAteer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.foundationforjobs.co.uk