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Getting more girls inspired by engineering

 November 23, 2016

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Helping to drive greater diversity in Engineering, new initiatives are regularly being launched to help change young people’s perceptions of the sector and inspire them to get involved. The University of Sheffield and Engineering UK are two institutions working to achieve this and are using innovative ways to spread their message.

Engineering skills shortage

With engineering companies projected to need 182,000 people with engineering skills each year up to 2022, there's an urgent need to double the number of graduates and apprentices entering the engineering industry to cover the demand.

Changing perceptions about engineering

The University of Sheffield launched its ‘Engineering Is’ campaign that aims to challenge the perceptions of engineering and inspire primary school children - particularly young girls - to consider studying engineering at university. By striving to get engineering education on the curriculum at an earlier stage, The University of Sheffield believe they can harness the natural curiosity of children and encourage them to use their natural abilities in maths to make a difference to the world around them.

The "Engineering Is" campaign was built upon the success of a book called "The Crash Landing" written by members of the University of Sheffield's Women in Engineering Student Society. It's a story about a little girl who rescues an alien by building a new spaceship for him. The book is currently used as a tool to help engage with schools to talk to children about engineering, science, maths and technology careers and is sometimes given to children to take home. It's hoped that through accessing the 'Engineering Is' website along with reading the book to their children, parents will also develop deeper understanding about the world of engineering and how they can encourage their children into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Inspiring tomorrow's female engineers

Engineering UK runs a week long celebration that raises awareness about the engineering profession. Their Tomorrow’s Engineers week shines an important spotlight on engineers opportunities and careers. To support Tomorrow’s Engineers week, Where Women Work ran a social media competition giving followers the chance to win one of five copies of the inspirational children's book, Rosie Revere Engineer a children’s book written by Andrea Beatty and published by Abrams & Chronicle that encourages girls into engineering. The book tells the tale of Rosie Revere, a young girl who dreams of becoming a great engineer and is an inspiration to young girls considering a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Engineering is ...

In the spirit of the campaign, the winners of the competition told us what Engineering means to them.

"Engineering is for everyone, we just need to unleash the potential and inspire the next generation. Engineering needs to reflect society if it truly wishes to represent it," said Jonathan Ralph.

"Engineering is what keeps the world moving, and all of us need to play our part. As a scientist myself with a daughter who is an engineer and a granddaughter already showing interest, this book is perfect," commented Jane Willis.

"Engineering is genderless and offers exciting and challenging career roles to men and women," points out Sarka Humpolcova.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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