Women make up just nine per cent of the UK’s engineering and technology workforce and Renishaw, the Gloucestershire based engineering company, is working hard to address these statistics.
Stroud High School, a local grammar school, recently signed up all of its year seven girls, over 150 students, to one of Renishaw’s STEM workshops. It signed up after one of their students, Rosalind Wilkes, was inspired by a girl’s rugby and engineering camp held by Renishaw and Gloucester Rugby in October 2017. The objective of the day was to challenge stereotypes and change perceptions of both engineering and rugby as being only for men.
“After watching the science demonstrations at the Rugby camp, I knew the other girls at my school would be interested in visiting Renishaw,” explained Rosalind Wilkes, student at Stroud High School. “At the camp we completed practical projects and we were able to take them home to show our parents and friends.
“Before my first visit to Renishaw, I was not aware of the precision needed to complete engineering projects or what engineering involved,” continued Rosalind. “Now I know it is a fun career opportunity for both girls and boys.”
During their workshops all of the girls had the opportunity to have a tour of Renishaw’s Innovation Centre which showcases the range of hi-tech products that Renishaw designs and manufactures. The girls also completed ‘People Like Me’ activities compiled by Women in Science & Engineering (WISE), encouraging girls aged eleven to 14 to consider careers based on their personality.
All the girls also had the opportunity to hear from young female engineering apprentices and graduates and have become real life engineers themselves by working on a mini hands-on engineering project making RGB LED torches which they took home as a memento of their visit.
“The workshops that Renishaw offer are a great way to get young girls excited about engineering,” explained Rebecca Bound, Education Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “Typically, young females do not realise that this is a field where you can really make a difference to people’s lives. We want to show young people that careers in engineering are accessible for everyone, regardless of gender.
“We are delighted with the feedback from these workshops, with 74% of the girls that have attended saying that they would now consider a STEM-based careers, compared to just 19% that were interested prior to their visit to Renishaw.”
WISE is collaborating with techUK to bring the People Like Me scheme to around 200,000 girls across the UK. Renishaw’s People Like Me training workshop is one of many STEM events organised as a part of the company’s extensive education outreach programme which aims to encourage the next generation of engineers.
For more information about Renishaw’s education outreach programme and the work Renishaw does to encourage the engineers of the future, visit https://www.renishaw.com/en/education-outreach–34713.