Interested in engineering but don’t know where to start?

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If your children or those you teach are interested in getting into engineering but don’t know where to start, have a look at Year of Engineering‘s animation on the different routes they can take into a career that’s packed with opportunities.

For more information about routes into engineering, you can also visit Tomorrow’s Engineers and Inspire an Engineer from the Engineering Council.

Female engineers come together for outreach surgery at Curiosity Connections 2019

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Curiosity ConnectionsWomen Like Me is a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious funded project. Curiosity Connections is a Bristol-based network for primary Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers and science communicators, while Women Like Me pairs senior engineers with junior engineers for mentoring, with the junior engineers undertaking outreach activities with children and young people.

The Curiosity Connections Conference 2019 took place at UWE Bristol on 2nd February – more to follow about that! As well as the three fantastic workshop rotations on offer, we also provided an outreach surgery for our female engineers to come along, try out some outreach activities, talk through any thoughts they have about outreach and catch up with each other.

Run by Dr Laura Hobbs, research fellow in science communication at UWE Bristol and coordinator of Women Like Me, and Dr Debbie Lewis, technical team leader for molecular biology at UWE and experienced outreach leader, the session saw our engineers trying to cut A5 pieces of paper so that they could step through them (a fantastic resource provided by the Year of Engineering) and build towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows. We were also joined by our WISE Women Like Me partner Sarah Behenna, who was recently involved with the development of the new WISE resource My Skills My Life.

Credit: David Marshall (University of Bristol/Virtual Natural History Museum)

Such was the concentration and enthusiasm for the tasks – and encouraging and supportive atmosphere – that we decided to extend our scheduled 50 minute session to more than two hours, only stopping for lunch. Our endeavours with technical paper-cutting also caught the attention of exhibitors at the conference expo; the Virtual Natural History Museum stand soon became adorned with a perfectly-executed paper ring!

Looking for Engineering lesson ideas?

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Now that 2018, the Year of Engineering, has come to an end, how can we keep embedding the E in STEM into teaching and learning?

The Year of Engineering website has a dedicated Lesson Ideas page, which brings together a large collection of resources which can be filtered by age range, format, curriculum link and length. Ideas range from lessons on combustion to game design to sports safety to space exploration and much more…

You can also access general resources, such as the What is Engineering? video below, the Marvel More Heroes Needed aptitude test and an engineering activities map.

UWE Bristol team to build winning Leaders Award design

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In 2018, Year of Engineering, UWE Bristol was a partner organisation of the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards in the South West of England, along with DE&S  (the MOD’s Defence, Equipment and Support organisation).

As part of the competition, school pupils met and learnt from engineering students and professionals, before answering the question:

by identifying a problem in society that engineering could solve and devising a solution.

Shortlisted and winning entries were displayed at an exhibition at UWE Bristol in June. A team of UWE Bristol engineering students:

have now picked one of the winning designs to turn into reality. The team are part of UWE’s Women in Science and Engineering student society and Katy is also a participant in our Women Like Me mentoring and outreach project supporting women and girls in engineering.

The team picked the design of Philippa Griffiths, a Year 7 student at Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset. Philippa designed the RLBS (Red Line Braking System) to display red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads.
Olesya explained why they chose Philippa’s design to make:

“We all agreed as a team on the design choice, because its practicality and feasibility suit our view and needs in the project. It will provide a great marketing look as well as provoking interest for children, as we are planning for them to physically test the final prototype! It’s a fantastic opportunity for us and we are all looking forward to see this project coming true!”

Mechanical engineer Brad Squires (President of Engineers Without Borders at UWE) will support and advise the project team as they begin to build Philippa’s design. They are hoping to visit Philippa and her classmates at their school as the project progresses. Watch this space!

Year of Engineering celebrated at Westminster Abbey

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As 2018, the Year of Engineering, draws to a close, the contribution of engineering and engineers to society was recognised yesterday (22nd November 2018) in a national celebration at Westminster Abbey.

The service, led by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, marked the government’s Year of Engineering and the bicentenary of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), and shone a spotlight on the contribution the profession makes to inspiring the next generation. It was the first of its kind and jointly organised by HM Government, ICE, and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), funder of our Women Like Me project supporting women and girls in engineering.


Roma Agrawal MBE, Associate Director at AECOM, and Colonel Deborah Porter, Deputy Commander of the Defence Medical Group, gave testimonies on how engineering had changed their lives and enabled them to help and inspire others through their work. Children from local schools were invited to attend, with reflection on how industry and government have joined forces throughout 2018 to bring engineering to life for young people from all backgrounds – and the importance of this continuing in 2019 and beyond.

You can find out more, including quotes from Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, ICE President Andrew Wyllie CBE and President of the Royal Academy of Engineers Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS from the UK Government, details of the service from Westminster Abbey, and contents of the talks from The Engineer. Images are from the reports linked.

Sarah Guppy: The Bridge, The Bed, The Truth opens to great reviews

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“You won’t look at Isambard Kingdom Brunel or the Clifton Suspension Bridge in quite the same way ever again after seeing this piece.”

In the Year of Engineering and Centenary of Women’s SuffrageShow of Strength are bringing us the opportunity to learn more about Bristol pioneer Sarah Guppy, the first woman to patent a bridge and formally design one.

Sarah Guppy: The Bridge, The Bed, The Truth‘ continues tonight at the Hen and Chicken in Bristol, with further showings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Find out what to expect in this excellent review from Bristol 24/7: “an inspiring and witty homage to someone who deserves a far more central place in Bristol’s – and Britain’s – commercial and industrial history”.

Sarah Guppy: The Bridge, The Bed, The Truth is on at the Hen & Chicken in Bedminster on 6th and 7th November at 8.30 pm, at the Create Centre in Hotwells on 8th and 9th November at 4 pm and 6.30 pm and The Savoy Theatrein Monmouth on 10th November at 2 pm. The performance lasts an hour and the first night will be attended by the Lord Mayor. Cllr Cleo Lake.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit

Have you got your Tomorrow’s Engineers Week resources?

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Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018 is underway! Running from 5th-9th November, the campaign aims to change perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers and to inspire future engineers.

In the Year of Engineering, #TEWeek18 is focusing on topics young people care about – including saving the environment, animal welfare, staying safe, health and entertainment.

There are lots of resources to support you with joining in on the Tomorrow’s Engineer Week 2018 website, including toolkits for schools, employers and engineers and more, social media templates, and Engineer on a Mission videos like the one below.

These are all available to access free of charge and it’s not too late to get involved!


We need more Engine-Ears

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This is a guest post from Louise Hetherington, assistant structural engineer at Atkins and participant in UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me programme. Louise has been involved in developing Engine-Ears, Atkins’ first STEM video for 7-11 years olds, and tells us more about it here.

Empowering young people to re-imagine STEM and change the future

STEM subjects excite us! So, for many years, SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business has been committed to promoting them to our local communities. Our strong STEM networks across our UK offices work tirelessly to be in classrooms and careers fairs, inspiring the next generation into Engineering and other STEM areas.

In the Year of Engineering we made the decision to reduce the age of our school target audience from 14 to seven. We wanted to reach out to younger children, their parents and influencers. Our goals were to inspire young minds into STEM subjects and at the same time, smash any stereotypes that exist around STEM careers.

Getting STEM animated

With support from Fifty One Films, the Atkins business created Engine-Ears. It’s an upbeat, catchy animation designed to appeal to children. The film explores what engineers do to shape the world around us in a relatable and understandable way. And it’s worked. With over 200,000 views on YouTube and other social media platforms, Engine-Ears has been delighting children all over the country.


Imagination-sparking resources

But we didn’t stop there. To accompany the video, we created a resource pack for teachers, pulling ideas from the video into classroom activities. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we believed sharing resources across the engineering community would be the most efficient way forward. So we used well known resources from other companies, referencing the good work they’ve done. Going forward we want to share our teacher pack and video with others in the industry, so together we can spread the message even further.

Diversity in early careers

The Atkins business has also created an inspiring video that encourages career seekers to consider a STEM profession. Rather than just focussing on engineering, the video highlights transport planning, civil engineering and architecture. By selecting other roles within the Atkins business, the video continues to highlight that diversity is key within the engineering community. Our aim is to widen the talent pool and not just encourage the stereotypical demographic to pursue a specific career.

Let’s shape the future together

We believe STEM promotion is most powerful when we work as a team. No one company or person can spread the message as well as a whole industry pulling together. The Atkins business is pushing forward to ensure there are fun and engaging STEM sessions in our offices and at local schools. But it’s not about promoting the company, it’s about promoting the subjects and careers available. We hope to share our knowledge and resources with others to shout the message louder. We all want the same thing – to make sure the engineers of the future know it’s a fantastic career path and it can be the right choice for them, regardless of their gender, race or background.

We need more people in STEM subjects, so let’s work together to achieve that.

To get involved, contact us here.

Whizz Pop Bang magazine and new resources for schools

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Whizz Pop Bang, “the awesome science magazine for kids” have kindly offered use of their resources in our Women Like Me activities. They’re not just a magazine; they create hands-on science lessons too. Here’s what Rachael, the Whizz Pop Bang’s head of communications, had to tell us:

What is Whizz Pop Bang?

Whizz Pop Bang is an award-winning, 36-page children’s magazine jam-packed with science fun! Printed on lovely, thick, uncoated paper (so that kids can colour, scribble and record their science results in it), it’s a top-quality magazine that’s built to last. Each month’s issue focuses on a new and interesting subject, with broad-ranging content to appeal to all budding scientists aged between six and twelve. Have a flick through a virtual copy of Whizz Pop Bang here.

Each month’s magazine is written by expert science writers, such as Isabel Thomas, author of more than 100 children’s science books. Each magazine is full of facts, puzzles, news and simple hands-on experiments that can easily be done at home or in school, giving parents, teachers and kids the tools to become scientists in their kitchens and classrooms!

We believe that kids make the best scientists. WHY? Because they’re inquisitive, keen to learn and have open minds that just love asking “Why…?”!

New teaching resources for schools
One of our key aims for Whizz Pop Bang is to help as many children as possible to enjoy the awesome world of science. So we’ve created a growing library of top-quality downloadable Whizz Pop Bang lesson plans and reading resources for schools to make science fun and engaging for children and teachers alike. 

What are the resources for schools?
Our Whizz Pop Bang school resources have been written by primary teachers in conjunction with science experts and they all link to the national curriculum…

  • Differentiated lesson plans
  • Simple hands-on investigations using household items
  • Interactive PowerPoint presentations to guide the lessons
  • Guiding reading texts and comprehension questions*
  • Science games

* Science texts and comprehensions, written by teachers, link to the English reading curriculum. They include How Stuff Works, interviews with real scientists and stories of sensational scientists from the past.

Subscriptions to the resources are for the whole school, with as many teacher log-ins as required.

How much does it cost?

 We know budgets are tighter than ever, so we’re offering schools a 50% discount on the resources until 31st December 2018. Whole-school access to the downloadable resources, along with 4 magazines in the post each month costs just £225 for the whole year with unlimited teacher loginsFor an average-sized school of 300 children, that’s just 75p per pupil per year.

To calculate the price per pupil for your school, use our online pricing tool at (prices exclude VAT).

Top five reasons for schools to subscribe to Whizz Pop Bang:

  • Accessible content for classrooms, libraries and science clubs
  • Written by expert teachers and science writers
  • Linked to the science and reading curricula
  • Bursting with rich practical science experiments
  • Gives teachers the confidence to deliver accurate science lessons

We’re particularly keen on the Whizz Pop Bang engineering resources and their issue on Super Structures, which you can read more about here.

To find out more visit, or if you have any questions, drop the team an email to or call them on 0330 2233790. You can also follow Whizz Pop Bang on social media: @whizzpopbangmag

Women Like Me supports Lego Mindstorms training

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On Monday 22nd October, Lego Mindstorms training will come to UWE Bristol, courtesy of the West England STEM Ambassador Hub and Raising Robots, and supported by UWE’s Women Like Me.

The Hub have 12 EV3 Mindstorms Robot kits for use in local schools.  This is a fantastic resource, which is free for the schools to use with the support of a STEM Ambassador.

Monday’s training session will be delivered by John Pinkney, a LEGO Education Certified Trainer.  Places were booked out fast – everyone loves robots!

The training session will cover:

  • Running short, high-impact sessions with LEGO Mindstorms – including quick builds for maximum learning impact
  • Moving Mindstorms away from instruction led building
  • Key builds to inspire students
  • An introduction to sensors – bringing Mindstorms to life with sensors and how to get the most out of them:
  • Ultrasonic, Colour and Touch
  • Gyro – its power and its challenges!

Some of our Women Like Me engineers will be participating in the training, enabling them to use the kits as part of their outreach activities.

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