A fear of failure can put people off iterative trial-and-error disciplines, such as engineering. In the past year, a team of locals have sought to better understand this fear in children, by undertaking research (with evaluation designed by UWE Bristol academics) within Bristol primary schools.
Bristol performer – Kid Carpet – led the “Epic Fail” project, with local engineers and representatives from Bristol young person mental health social movement – Off the Record, run workshops at Victoria Park, May Park and Begbrook primary schools.
Each school residency lasted two weeks and included workshops for Year Five classes in Bridge Building, Fantastic Inventions, Wellbeing, Un-uselessness and Song Writing. As well as some creative ways to capture children’s thoughts about failure.
Bridge building workshops were led by engineer Rachel Kirkwood – a member of UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me engineer mentoring programme. Rachel is featured in the video below, produced to celebrate the Epic Fail project in lieu of the live performances cancelled because of COVID-19.
And be encouraged by one child’s song to “Not give up” in the following short video.
The West of England is a hub for innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, but as with the rest of the UK, there is a huge skills and employment gap for future engineers. That’s why the new Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) initiative – launched on 15th July – is investing in the future of digital engineering for our region.
UWE Bristol is partnering with DETI to develop regional skills and inspire the region’s next generation of engineers. DETI Inspire will champion science for children in the West of England with a particular focus on breaking stereotypes and challenging perceptions about STEM careers in order to appeal to under-represented groups in engineering.
The skills challenge
Lack of exposure Many children, and particularly those from low socio-economic backgrounds, will have very little exposure to science and may not know adults who work or have worked in STEM careers. This lack of so called “science capital” can have a significant impact on children’s aspirations regarding STEM careers. This is particularly important for young girls, as attitudes towards STEM are largely formed before age 11.
Lack of diversity Another major concern for the engineering workforce is the lack of diversity – with only 12% of women engineers and 7% from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.
Changing perceptions Research indicates that presenting engineering as a creative, collaborative profession, working towards socially conscious communal goals will have wider-spread appeal. Therefore DETI is particularly keen to contribute to the West of England’s sustainability and net zero goals.
UWE Bristol is establishing an EngineeringEngagement Hub to coordinate engineering engagement for schools and families in the West of England, and will work together with DETI industry partners and school engagement providers to:
map past engagement activities in the region in order to build a network amongst partners and stakeholders and strategically plan future engagement to multiply/expand impact
develop curriculum linked engagement activities to tour schools and run out of the Prototype and Play centre for public engagement at UWE Bristol’s Engineering Building. These engagement activities will include:
a touring activity kit that challenges children to use digital engineering tools to tackle sustainability challenges
public open events for families and schools
6-week STEM club challenges
run teacher CPD events to support and upskill
shape a “Diversity Demonstrator” – a network of diverse engineering role models to champion engineering public engagement. Including development of engagement training for this group of student and industry engineers
Building on UWE’s wealth of experience in public engagement
As a core provider of public engagement in the region and champion of equality, diversity and inclusion, UWE Bristol’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics (EDM) department is perfectly positioned to lead DETI Inspire.
EDM engages in local public facing technology fairs and national engineering competitions as well as spearheading various public engagement opportunities initiatives. For instance, members of the Bristol Bioenergy centre developed a microbial fuel cell activity that they use to teach children about electricity.
DETI is a research, innovation and skills initiative created to develop and accelerate digital engineering across multiple industry sectors, to ultimately benefit future generations of engineers and engineering products, and to help tackle global challenges.
UWE’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics department will play a central role in DETI, leading the Skills development branch of the centre. EDM will work with other DETI partners to:
Inspire the next generation of diverse engineers
Transform the further and higher education landscape
Innovate lifelong learning of specialised digital engineering skills
Dr Lisa Brodie, Head of UWE Bristol’s Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM), who led UWE’s bid, said: “This is a vitally important investment for our region and we are pleased to be leading on the skills and workforce development element of the centre’s work. It comes at a perfect time as we prepare to open our new engineering building where we will have state-of-the-art digital engineering facilities and an increased focus on digital engineering to train our graduates for emerging roles in the sector.”
The global engineering landscape is shifting. Shorter product development times, faster routes to market and the need for through-life product sustainability for some of the most complex products the world has ever seen provides us with an exciting opportunity. To maintain engineering leadership, UK businesses need to develop new ways of working that enable agility, flexibility and competitive advantage, that will support future generations socially, economically and sustainably.
By the end of this decade, to deliver a low carbon global economy, everything we make will need to be completely re-imagined and re-engineered. Digital technologies will transform the way engineers operate to meet new product demands. Industry requires new skills and digital test beds, from exploring the best tools to use, the technologies to invest in, to exploiting value from vast quantities of data generated through the product lifecycle. There are few test-grounds to explore and test technologies and processes without disrupting current production line pressure. This is where Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) comes in.
Accelerating digital engineering capabilities and skills
DETI is starting as a two-year, research and development (R&D) initiative in the West of England. It will bring together advanced engineering companies, digital technology pioneers and universities to push the boundaries of digital engineering for the future, to help UK businesses maintain engineering leadership. DETI will help companies identify and develop the tools, technologies and processes they need to rapidly accelerate digital engineering capabilities and identify the skills needed to embed digital.
The West of England is home to the UK’s largest advanced engineering and aerospace cluster and a vibrant digital community. As such, the region delivers the expertise, living labs and a technology test bed that companies need to progress.
Industry Challenges, Enabling Capabilities and Skills
The DETI Programmewill coordinate and deliver on key ‘Industry Challenges’, enabling companies of all sizes to collaborate on ‘proof of concept’ projects that address the barriers to digital transformation. It will deliver ‘Enabling Capabilities’ that establish digital domain expertise and core reusable technology (processes, models, tools and infrastructure).
Encouraging diversity and inclusivity, DETI will initiate a comprehensive ‘Skills’ and workforce development programme to ensure the current and future workforce is digital-ready, inspiring future generations.
UWE engineering students, alumni and staff have recorded home-videos to inspire children into engineering. This is the second post sharing some of these videos – you can catch up on two Aerospace Engineering students enthusiasm for engineering in the first post.
Here we’re sharing the insight and enthusiasm of two amazing female engineers:
UWE alumni – Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee
UWE lecturer and PhD researcher – Maryam Lamere
Krystina gives a little insight into her job at BAE Systems, alongside sharing some top tips, how she’s overcome challenges and why she’s excited for the future of engineering.
Maryam loves engineering and speaks a little about her research into pee-powered electricity. Most of all, sheemphasises that a good engineer never gives up!
Are you a UWE engineering student, alumni or staff and have a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch with me at email@example.com to get your own home-video featured and shared to inspire the next generation of engineers!
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is tomorrow – 23rd July – and is an opportunity to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.
The theme for this year’s INWED is “Shape the World”, and there are lots of ways you can take part…
You could join in with the online careers fairhosted by LiketoBe, which is focused on Women in Engineering – June 23rd, 10:00 – 15:00
Be inspired by the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing (Confirm Centre) webinar dedicated to finding out why some of their female academics, researchers and industry partners pursued Engineering – 23rd June, 15:00 – 16:00
On 10th June women in UWE’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics department took part in celebrating the million women now working in STEM industries in the UK. They shared photos and stories to inspire other women in engineering. Read more here.
Cajigo is a mobile learning platform that empowers girls and women to reach their full potential through focused mentoring and support. And they’re on the lookout for new mentors!
Read on to find out more about the platform and how you could get involved…
Addressing the Gender Imbalance
In STEM industries female representation remains under 20% worldwide, and with many schools lacking girls taking STEM subjects at A level, this gender imbalance shows no sign of changing soon. With predictions that the next decade will see 80% of jobs requiring STEM skills, new solutions are badly needed to encourage women into STEM.
Cajigo School’s Programme works with education and businesses to signpost STEM industry careers to girls early on. This can have a huge positive effect on girls – inspiring, motivating and empowering them with the belief that they can reach their highest potential in these fields.
Cajigo aims to demystify STEM and digital careers to capture young minds, connecting careers to passions to get young girls excited about working within STEM and digital fields.
“Cajigo is a practical way, not only to increase diversity but also to make it a strategic imperative within the business”
Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President techUK, Chair of Digital Leaders
During the current lockdown, many girls would benefit from developing STEM skills whilst at home. And with evidence suggesting those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups are likely to be left behind during this time, Cajigo is running as an online solution to keep these populations engaged and motivated in STEM.
The Cajigo Schools programme mentors and supports girls (aged 13 years and upwards) on option choices and their career development using a blended learning approach. This involves a 3-hour workshop, in addition to online learning through Cajigo (an App), and guidance and support from role models and industry mentors.
And that’s where you could come in!
Mentoring gives students access to visible and relatable female role models who help to inspire, motivate and signpost careers.
Cajigo also offers support to
women in the workplace, career changers, returners and University students.
If you are keen to offer support in mentoring the next generation of female engineers and digital technologists, please contact Rav Bumbra, who’ll talk you through the process – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cajigo is the social learning and development arm of Structur3dpeople, a company that helps organisations attract and retain diverse talent and focuses on supporting more women into STEM, digital and leadership careers.
EDM women are pictured above taking part in WISE’s 1 of the million campaign and you can read about some of their career stories below…
Senior Lecturer in Statistics, Narges Dailami tells her story, “I am a senior lecturer in statistics at EDM UWE. I have always loved maths and wanted to pursue a career in it from a young age. I was 18 when I arrived from Persia but I had to spend my time learning English in order to achieve this dream in the UK. After gaining a First in Maths from Sheffield University my passion grew and I completed a Masters in Probability and Statistics then went on to complete my PhD in statistics. I am proud of what I have achieved and although my journey was difficult at times, no amount of adversity or challenges was going to stop me achieving what I set out to do at 18.”
Read about why Head of EDM, Lisa Brodie, recommends engineering to young people.
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) have worked hard over the years to transform the face of the workforce, and this June we are joining them to celebrate their recently reached milestone – 1 million women working in core STEM in the UK.
EDM supports gender equality in STEM and recognises the vital contribution women are making, so we’re partnering with WISE, and other STEM organisations in the UK, to help put a personal face to the million.
As part of this 1 of the Million Campaign, we’ll be sharing photos and some stories of the women making a difference in EDM at UWE Bristol. All helping to showcase that STEM is for everyone – hopefully encouraging more girls into STEM!
So whether you’re a women in STEM or a champion of gender balance across sectors, take part in WISE’s #1ofTheMillion day on Twitter. You just have to take a selfie with a placard saying what you do at UWE, or even why you are passionate about STEM – then upload your photo on the WISE webpage and they’ll share it on the WISE Twitter account on June 10th.
You can find out more about getting involved by taking a look at the 1 of the Million Campaign Pack (which includes the official blank campaign placard).
In this time of uncertainty, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of one thing that is certain – women strengthen our STEM workforce! So to kick us off early – here are just two of EDM’s fabulous 1 of the million women:
It seems a long time since schools were last open, but at the start of March British Science week went ahead, and UWE staff and students were called up to inspire the next generation of engineers! Read on to find out more.
Chatting about engineering at Hambrook Primary
On Wednesday 11th March, three UWE engineering students were invited into Hambrook Primary to be interviewed by the kids about engineering, what future roles they hoped to have and how all of this linked to their STEM subjects at school.
“They did a great job of talking things through with the children.”
a Hambrook School teacher reported
Getting hands on at the Manor C of E Primary in Coalpit Heath
For the second time that week, students got to be role models in a school, this time bringing a hands on activity for the children to have a go at.
Teachers report that the children loved the activity and the students were equally enthusiastic about the visit.
“They had different perspectives about engineering field and it’s pathways. It was such a good experience!”
said engineering student Harshi Asurappulige
Aspiration day at Filton Avenue Primary School
Venkat Bakthavatchaalam, lecturer in mechanical engineering, (who only recently joined UWE in January!) attended the career’s fair portion of the day on Friday 13th March. He went armed with thymio robots to grab the attention of the Year 5s tasked with finding out what their Super North Star is, aka – what they want to be when they are older.
“The children were very surprised with the Thymio robots and were curious about sensors and how they worked. Personally, it was a good experience for me to see the children interacting with the robots. Awe was all over their expressions.”
If anyone academics or students are keen on getting involved in school outreach, please get in contact – email@example.com