17 March 2022

Sheffield event aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers

The University of Sheffield welcomed over 200 local Year 9-11 (age 13 to 16) schoolgirls to an event at the Octagon Centre to show them how they can transform lives with careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

STEM For Girls

The University of Sheffield welcomed over 200 local Year 9-11 (age 13 to 16) schoolgirls to an event at the Octagon Centre to show them how they can transform lives with careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Exploring STEM for Girls is an event held annually as part of British Science Week in a bid to inspire the next generation of female scientists and engineers through a variety of interactive experiments, demonstrations and workshops. 

According to new research from EngineeringUK, only 28% of the STEM workforce in the UK is female. For engineering specifically, this research shows that 16.5% of those working in engineering in 2021 were female, compared to 10.5% in 2010, and the Royal Academy of Engineering states that just 8% are from BAME backgrounds. Although we welcome the 6 point increase in women working in engineering, the University is committed to continuing to inspire and encourage women to close the gender gap and create a more diverse STEM workforce in the UK. 

Professor Heidi Christensen, Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Faculty of Engineering at Sheffield, said: “The Exploring STEM for Girls event is just one of the many ways we reach out to the next generation of would-be female engineers and scientists. It provides an opportunity for young women to immerse themselves in STEM related activities and open their minds to the broad range of exciting, accessible careers in these subjects.”  

“We recently celebrated 10 years of our ‘Women in Engineering’ initiative at Sheffield, which was an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved over the last decade as well as looking ahead to the future. We must continue to foster equal opportunities for staff and students to achieve their potential and ensure progress continues.”

Throughout the day the school pupils had the opportunity to try out virtual reality headsets to teleport into a robot, try out a flight simulator and make candyfloss, demonstrating the chemical engineering process involved in food manufacture. This was alongside activities on subjects such as astronomy, cancer research, particle physics and sustainable engineering.

At the event, pupils were also able to speak to current university students and staff about their studies, careers and the real-life applications of STEM subjects, and gain knowledge about further education opportunities and possible career pathways. The teachers attending were also able to attend a CPD session with take home resources to use in the classroom.  

This event is part of British Science Week 2022 a ten day nationwide celebration of science, maths, engineering and technology. 

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