How BP is doing its bit to encourage more women into engineering

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 23 Nov 2018

Pupils from across Hull spent a day with major employers including BP at an event aimed at encouraging young woman into engineering roles.

The STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) day, run by BP in conjunction with the Hull & East Yorkshire Children’s University and Ron Dearing UTC, saw more than 60 nine to eleven-year-old girls take part.

According to the Women’s Engineering Society, in the UK women account for only nine per cent of the professional engineering workforce– far lower than the European average.

It has also been widely publicised that the UK economy is experiencing a shortfall of engineers, which poses a serious threat to industry and the economy.

Ellie Westwood, BP Hull communications and engagement advisor, said: “At BP we believe it is important to work with young people to help them recognise the exciting STEM careers available to them.

Hull pupils joined the likes of BP at an event aimed at encouraging more women into engineering roles. (c)jonchallicom

“We know we need to work hard to encourage more girls to look at engineering as a future career, so our STEM inspiration day was a really wonderful way of helping these children from our local area meet our engineers and work with them to learn, experience and discover more about the world of science and engineering.

“During the day, we had lots of positive comments from the children, with many of them telling us they wanted to become scientists and engineers, so we hope that events like this can really help to open their eyes to the careers that engineering can provide.

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“This was a great way to work with both HEY Children’s University and Ron Dearing UTC to engage with children who not only may not be aware of the opportunities on their doorstep for future jobs, but also for where they can study.”

Activities during the day ranged from helping pupils understand how forces, in the form of thrusts and air resistance, affect the motion of a balloon rocket, and how air resistance can be managed by designing a streamlined nose cone.

Hull pupils joined the likes of BP at an event aimed at encouraging more women into engineering roles. (c)jonchallicom

Pupils also enjoyed taking part in a structural engineering challenge using straws and marshmallows, and a team work and communication challenge using Lego.

BP has been supporting the teaching and learning of STE subjects for 50 years, but this year particularly, is celebrating engineering careers and the dedicated engineers working within the comapany.

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The STEM inspiration days have been hosted across four BP UK sites this year in support of the UK Government’s Year of Engineering 2018 campaign, which is working alongside industry partners to offer young people a positive experience of engineering to help tackle the engineering skills gap in the UK.

Natasha Barley, director of HEY Children’s University, said: “Our charity is proud to be working with BP to raise the aspirations of girls from disadvantaged communities in Hull and the East Riding.

“We hope that events like this one encourage the girls taking part to be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

“Opportunities like this can change a child’s future as there are so many STEM related careers they can aspire to.”

Mark Ollerenshaw, vice principal at Ron Dearing UTC, added: "Ron Dearing UTC has a formidable relationship with both HEY Children's University and BP.

“We are delighted to have been part of BP’s Year of Engineering STEM day. Our relationship with BP not only provides opportunities like this event, but gives students at Ron Dearing invaluable work experience, expert careers advice and guidance and support with our curriculum, too."

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