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Engineering fun sparks female interest in STEM careers

4th August 2017

A group of female students from schools across the North East have been learning how to create flowers from metal as part of a special event to inspire and encourage more women into engineering.

The eight young women are all taking part in a summer school run by Northumbria University’s NUSTEM project, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students through a wide variety of educational events.

As part of the three-week-long course, which is funded by the Reece Foundation, the students, all aged 17, visited AIS Connect’s state-of-the-art Technical Academy in North Shields to find out more about possible engineering careers in the energy and heavy industry sectors and to try their hand at sheet metal fabrication.

As well as touring AIS’s 20-acre industrial training village, the students observed various live training courses including an underwater escape from a mock helicopter in AIS’s 4.5m deep offshore survival pool and delegates working at height on a simulated wind turbine. The youngsters then spent the rest of the day learning how to cut and shape metal to create their very own hand-made metal roses.

Dr Kate Winter, NUSTEM Outreach and Communications Assistant at Northumbria University, said: “There is a huge national shortage of woman in engineering and our annual three-week Summer School aims to help tackle this. We are very pleased to be able to work with local companies like AIS to show female students the numerous careers opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).”

Kate Wallace from Sunderland is one of those students taking part. Currently studying ‘A’ levels in Maths, History, Physics and Economics at Whitburn Academy Sixth Form, Kate said: “Making the rose was really fun and interesting. I’ve never done anything like it before.

“When you’re learning in a classroom it’s really hard to think of how it could relate to a job in the future but today has really opened my eyes to the possibilities. I’m now thinking about pursuing a career in the renewables industry or maybe the marine sector.”

Head of partnerships and strategic development at AIS Connect, Kate Lovelock said: “It’s important to get the message out that engineering offers lots of rewarding and exciting career paths for women, as well as men. By giving these young women practical, first-hand experience we’re hoping we can inspire them to consider an engineering career in the future.”

For more information about NUSTEM projects please visit https://nustem.uk/

To find out more about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics degree programmes available at Northumbria University please visit https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/academic-departments/ or come along to one of our upcoming Open Days.

The Reece Foundation was established in 2007 and aims to support engineering and manufacturing in the North East through funding and education.

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