A drive to encourage more females into engineering saw pupils from three secondary schools get together for a day of practical learning ahead of a national awareness day.
Women in Engineering Day is held each year (Thursday June 23) with a host of events taking place across the UK to try to encourage more females to get involved in the sector.
Hartlepool College of Further Education is heavily involved with the annual scheme, and earlier this week young girls from English Martyrs, Dyke House and St Hild’s schools all took part in the latest action day.
The girls were given an introduction by Helen Gott, Lecturer in Engineering at the College and the main organiser of the event, before Paula Tinkler, Commercial Director for Middlesbrough-based Chemoxy, took to the stage to explain her work.
Current engineering students at the College were on hand to demonstrate the work they do and answer any questions from the visiting pupils as well as talking about the options available at the campus.
There were then visits to Hartlepool Power Station, with EDF having a long-running link-up with the College, and Caterpillar in Peterlee, before the students returned for some classroom-based practical tests.
Helen described the event as a huge success, and hopes that the students who visited will give a career in engineering some serious consideration.
She said: “It was a really busy day with a lot packed into it, but I’m really pleased with the way it went and I hope the students took a lot out of it.
“They had some hands-on experience of the fabrication and welding which created a real buzz, then they learned about things like power generation and velocity and did a lot of STEM activities.
“The beauty of events like this is that the students can pick things up that they would be unable to do in a classroom, and I truly hope that they will be inspired into a career in this sector.
“The students who are already on the courses with us are all doing well, and we hope that the next generation coming through will realise that there is a high demand for this type of work in the North East.”
Mick Casey, Head of the Engineering School at Hartlepool College, added: “In recent years the number of female students in engineering has increased, but there is still work to be done to try and reduce the so-called gender imbalance.
“We’re constantly trying to address that by encouraging more girls to come into a thriving sector. We have excellent relationships with the schools, and by inviting them into the College they can get a real feel for the options which are available to them both with ourselves and the companies we work with.”
Paula said she was inspired to go into engineering by a similar event when she was younger, and hopes the girls who attended this week’s activity will follow in her footsteps.
She said: “It is fantastic that once again Hartlepool College has supported this event, and it is great to see the girls from the schools not only coming along but taking a real genuine interest in what is going on.
“If it plants a seed in their mind that there are opportunities available to them then that can only be a positive.” Hartlepool College of Further Education was recently named as the second best apprenticeship provider in the country, and openings in all sectors are available.
“All the girls had a great day, with the agenda packed full of new experiences taking them outside their comfort zone and challenging them to think about engineering as a career. Hartlepool College offered the girls the opportunity to see where they might study as well as in an insight into the world of work in the local manufacturing and process industries of the north east. This type of event is invaluable to support young women as they think about further education and career paths”
For more information visit www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01429 295111.