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Council’s Science and Innovation celebrates National Women in Engineering

19 June 2015

Local girls encouraged to explore engineering careers

In an effort to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of local women in engineering, Derry City and Strabane District Council has organised an event as part of National Women in Engineering Day on 23 June.

The celebratory event, scheduled to take place at the Sandwich Company, Bishop Street, will include an inspirational talk by two Engineer students, speed networking with Engineer Mentors and a quiz. It is a fun and interactive way of engaging with young people to find out more about pursuing a career in engineering.

Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of its Science and Innovation Programme the event will focus on the great opportunities there are for women in engineering. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in a speed dating type exercise where they will get to meet with each engineer to ask questions and move on to the next before taking part in an engineering themed pub quiz.

The students giving the inspiration talk will be Rebecca Wray, a second year product design engineering student from QUB, currently on placement with GSK in England and recently awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Award and Katie-Jo Harwood, a PhD student based at Ulster University with a background in Biomedical engineering and Tissue engineering with an industrial background in Quality engineering.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Cllr Elisha McCallion, speaking ahead of the event said it was a fantastic opportunity for young people from the city and district to hear at first-hand about the opportunities that exist for students who choose a career in engineering.

“We have organised this event as we want to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering,  at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage.  By encouraging more girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion but provide employment opportunities for future jobs that have been predicted in this sector.  I read with great interest that only six per cent of the engineering workforce is female yet girls make up about half of physics students at GCSE level according to the Women’s Engineering Society. We need to be looking at the reasons for the drop-off point at A-level where fewer than 20 percent of girls continue with the subject,” she said.

Elsa Edwards, Legacy Project Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, who is working on the delivery of the Science and Innovation Programme said it was important every effort was made to encourage female students to look at the options and opportunities that are available to them.

“This event on 23 June is a fun and innovative way to get them to think about their futures. We hope that they will be inspired by Rebecca and Katie-Jo’s inspirational stories.  We want to see more women going into engineering and similar trade jobs and though Council's Science and Innovation Programme we hope to enthuse young individuals such as yourselves into taking up more STEM related subjects,” she added.

The Science and Innovation Programme is funded by Derry City & Strabane District Council, Ilex and the Department of Culture and Leisure and features an array of curiosity themed events including The Curiosity Gallery at Ebrington, BT Young Scientist Exhibition, Formula Derr-E, SciFest, Maths Week, Brickwonders, Space Camp and Minecraft Nation.

Any females who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering and wish to attend the event may contact Elsa Edwards at [email protected]

For further information on the Science and Innovation Programme visit www.scinnovate.co