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AECOM in the Middle East runs STEM workshop for schoolgirls

AECOM in the Middle East runs STEM workshop for schoolgirls

 March 12, 2019

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A group of schoolgirls from Al Yasmina Academy and their sister school, Al Bateen Academy, recently attended a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) workshop held by AECOM at their International Tower office in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The workshop was planned and facilitated by Vicky O’Neill (Manager, Talent Management).

AECOM International Tower office

Vicky shares the reasons for this important initiative: “By engaging with high schools and educating students on the types of careers they can have through STEM subjects, we can begin developing young people’s passion for engineering.” Vicky further adds that, “by moving our focus to a grassroots approach, we are able to capture the minds of young women which we hope will be an effective route to a more gender diverse industry”.

Vicky O'Neill AECOM Talent Manager

Alejandro Garcia Vinagre, HR Director - Middle East & Africa, also shares his enthusiasm for this initiative: “School visits are a great way of encouraging future female talent to choose technical careers by showing them some of the amazing work AECOM has delivered, while inspiring them through female role models in our organization. This activity is a good example of AECOM’s commitment to support transformation in the communities we operate in.”

So, what did the workshop involve? Vicky arranged for several speakers to talk at the workshop about their experiences in the engineering and architecture field. The speakers discussed their own career paths, what subjects they picked at school, university life, and finding their first job. Lan Duong (Assistant Project Manager / Infrastructure Engineer) was one of the speakers at the workshop, and her talk focused on the question “What is Engineering?”.

AECOM What is Engineering? workshop

As well as talking through the different types of engineering, the schoolgirls also had some hands-on experience: “The girls took part in activities based on real life project planning scenarios,” explains Vicky.

Yara Nasif, Communications Coordinator, spoke to the students during their lunch break and they shared with her their enjoyment of the day: “The students provided very positive feedback about the day, saying that it introduced and encouraged them to join the industry.”

Teacher and student AECOM workshop

Vicky received similar feedback: “The students did not want to leave!”, she explains. When asked about the workshop, one of the students commented that: “It was nice to see all the females that work at AECOM and I really enjoyed the presentation about the different types of engineering. I did not know a lot about the industry before, but the workshop encouraged me to pursue a degree in engineering.” She continues, “My favourite part of the day was the activities…like the LEGO activity and drawing what an engineer looks like.”

Vicky concludes by sharing what she hopes the school girls got out of the event: “We hope that the girls left the office with an understanding of the different types of engineering and the types of careers they can have if this is their desired path. We want to debunk the typical stereotypes about engineers and show how innovative and how diverse the industry is. We want them to be aware of the different educational paths to take if they are interested in this type of career and the importance of female representation in the construction industry.”

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