Celebrating women in engineering at UWE Bristol

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On 28th June, female pupils from years 9-11 visited UWE Bristol to celebrate women in engineering.

Tying in with International Women in Engineering Day 2018, the event aimed to challenge traditional perceptions that engineering is mainly for men, in order to tackle a lack of diversity in the profession. Pupils took part in a range of activities which demonstrated the relevance of engineering to society.

Ready to engineer your future?

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Following International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, 135 female students in Years 9-11 from across the South West had the chance to participate in hands-on activities, demonstrating the ways in which engineering careers impact many aspects of society.

Each zone focused on a different contribution to society, with the ultimate challenge of designing and building a city of the future. The girls got involved in bridge building, urban design, smart technologies, and sustainable solutions. All these courses are taught in the Faculty of Environment and Technology at UWE Bristol.

The event aimed to challenge traditional perceptions that engineering is mainly for men, in order to tackle a lack of diversity in the profession. Laura Fogg Rogers, who helped to organise it, has also recently initiated the Women Like Me project at UWE Bristol, which aims to further encourage and support girls and women to enter and remain in engineering professions.

“If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

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2712 children from across the South West answered this question with their designs to solve real-world problems.

The Leaders Awards is organised by Primary Engineer, helping children to meet real-life engineers. Led by Laura Fogg Rogers, UWE Bristol is an official sponsor, in partnership with Defence Equipment and Support (the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence).

The shortlisted entries were showcased at a public exhibition in June 2018, bringing together 19 winners and their parents in a celebration with engineers from across the South West.

Children from Reception through to Year 10 were recognised for their efforts. Designs ranged from rotating bunk beds to bird-identifier binoculars. Students from UWE Bristol’s EngWest Studio will make one of the winning entries as part of their studies.

The future of engineering is here!

UWE Bristol supports Engineer Leaders Award for South West England

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2018 is the Year of Engineering, a Government-led national campaign to increase awareness among young people, their parents and their teachers of what engineers do. This year, UWE Bristol and DE&S  (the MOD’s Defence, Equipment and Support organisation) are the partner organisations of the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards in the South West of England.

School pupils have met and learnt from engineering students and professionals, before answering the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” by identifying a problem in society that engineering could solve and devising a solution.

To launch the competition, back in January DE&S invited school children from the Bristol area to visit their Abbey Wood site and discover some of the kit worked on by its engineers.

Engineering Leaders Award

We welcomed 380 school children on campus this week to find out why engineering is fun and to showcase their own designs for future production as part of the Engineering Leaders Award #ThisisEngineeringMore: http://ow.ly/kxxV30iR24L

Posted by UWE Bristol on Friday, 9 March 2018


Primary school children from Years 4-6 also attended the ‘Children as Engineers’ conference at UWE on 7th March, giving them the opportunity to visit the University’s facilities and take part in science activities. Children had the opportunity to pitch their design ideas to engineering students and receive feedback.

Shortlisted and winning entries from the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Award submitted by primary and secondary school children were then displayed at an exhibition at the University on 30th June.

Winning designs will now be built by UWE Bristol engineering students from September 2018. They take the concept, develop the design and build it into a full-scale functioning prototype, giving the school children who entered the competition an insight into the process behind designing and manufacturing a product.

As part of its commitment to encouraging school children to think about future attendance at a university as well as raising awareness about science and engineering career paths, UWE Bristol is actively involved with schools in the local area.

Last September it set up a module on its undergraduate and postgraduate Engineering degrees to teach students about public engagement with engineering, and the need to widen the appeal of the profession to girls and boys.

As part of the module, 45 of the University’s engineering undergraduates joined forces with 35 UWE Bristol education students to take engineering challenges into 30 primary school classrooms for a day. The event involved over 900 local primary school children, enabling students and children to work together to challenge children’s preconceptions about engineers and the role they play. It also helped support engineering students in their public engagement skills and enabled trainee teachers to develop their knowledge of science teaching.

Laura Fogg-Rogers, who coordinated the event and is Senior Research Fellow in UWE Bristol’s Science Communication Unit said, “Engineers are highly creative people who can help to solve many of society’s problems. It’s a really collaborative profession, where you have to work together in teams to see your visions and designs come to fruition. The range of roles and careers is really diverse, and that’s what we’d like to emphasise to all young people, particularly girls. You can make your own mark in engineering!”

UWE Bristol has also recently launched Women Like Me, a project which will see senior women engineers mentor junior women engineers, who will in turn undertake engineering outreach in schools. For more information about the project and UWE’s engineering outreach work, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter.

Engineering Science Education: Teaching Science Through Engineering

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There are very few teachers in UK primary schools who have any scientific qualifications above GCSE level.  Many also report that they struggle with science subject knowledge; this causes them to feel less confident about teaching science, which can have a negative impact on children’s learning and attitudes to science.

So what can be done to address this? Supported by grants from UWE and the Engineer’s Professors Council, researchers at UWE’s Departments of Engineering and Education and Childhood have been pairing UWE trainee primary school teachers (ITE students) with UWE undergraduate engineering students to work together on engineering activities for local primary school children, running ‘Children as Engineers’ conferences and producing a toolkit for training teachers and engineers to jointly teach science through engineering.

Read more about it on the UWE Education blog.

UWE Bristol events to inspire next generation of student engineers

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Leading on from International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, a week of engineering events organised by UWE Bristol at the end of June is set to showcase the creativity of current and future engineers across the South West.

On 28th June, activities for young people will celebrate women in engineering and inspire schoolgirls interested in the sciences.

On 29th June, judges will announce winners of the Engineer Leaders Awards, and the following day families can view the schoolchildren’s exhibited designs.

Laura Fogg-Rogers, who is coordinating the week of events and is Senior Research Fellow in UWE Bristol’s Science Communication Unit said: “Engineering has an image problem, but in reality it is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline. Engineers can make a real difference to improve the lives of people in the UK and around the world.

“That’s why it’s so important for UWE Bristol to run events like our Week of Engineering – we want to show all young people that engineering can be a career that helps them make a difference in society.”

Find out more, including the full programme of interactive activities, demonstrations and events for school groups, teachers and families, here.

TeachMeet South West: Improving STEM for girls

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28th June 2018   4:30 – 6:00 pm


Aimed at science teachers and educators, this free event is open to all

UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Filton Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, BS34 8QZ

How do you include girls in your STEM practice?

  • Hear from experts in role modelling and inclusion for girls in STEM
  • Share your experience of encouraging girls to take up a career in STEM professions
  • Meet science-teachers and educators from across the West

Improving STEM for girls
Led by Laura Fogg Rogers from the University of the West of England, this TeachMeet will feature guest speaker Shaaron Leverment.

Shaaron is from the Association for Science and Discovery Centres, and the Hypatia Project, the EU Horizon 2020 project which is challenging gender stereotyping and sharing the practical top tips that can re-position your practice and make a real difference to the gender-inclusivity of STEM communication.

Come along and share your professional experience in promoting STEM careers to girls in schools/colleges.

What has/has not worked for you? We look forward to meeting you at the event

On arrival please enter through the UWE North Entrance and park in the Exhibition and Conference Centre car park.

Women Like Me – a new engineering outreach project at UWE Bristol

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Only 11% of engineers in the UK are women. Is this enough?

No, it’s really not – we have an engineering skills shortage as it is, and the low proportion of women in the workforce means that a whole pool of talent is going untapped. Girls need to be able to see engineering as for them, connect with it as career and have access to positive female role models. And in turn, women need to feel supported to make a difference in the workplace once they get there, so that they not only go into, but stay in engineering roles.

So what can we do about that, and how can we bring people together? Here at UWE Bristol, we’re launching ‘Women Like Me’; a project which aims to open doors to girls and build resilience for women in engineering. Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs will be running the project over the next year; we both have lots of experience of delivering outreach and engagement projects and are passionate about making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths accessible to everyone, at all stages.


Supporting women and girls in engineering

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. So what does that actually mean?

The project will pair senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women will undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.


Who can take part?

Mid-career and early career female engineers working in the Bristol and Bath area can get involved in the project. Senior women engineers are those who are more than five years post-graduation from their first degree. Junior women engineers are those with less than five years of experience since entering the engineering profession, and can include apprentices, trainees, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Undergraduates aren’t eligible to take part; whilst they are fantastic role models, UWE already provides public engagement training for undergraduate engineering students through the Engineering and Society module.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (October 2018) and end (April 2019) of the project. Senior engineers will receive training in mentoring and meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project.

Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities in local schools and at local public events. Activities and coordination of events is provided and supported by UWE; participation is voluntary and we’ll cover travel expenses.

How can I find out more or sign up?

For more information or to get involved, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk. You can also follow the project on Twitter for updates.


Women Like Me is based in the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), supported by the WISE Bristol Hub and STEM Ambassador Hub West England and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant. The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and was initiated by Laura Fogg-Rogers. By matching senior and junior female engineers and supporting junior engineers to connect with the children and young people as the engineers of tomorrow, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.

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