Why is diversity important in engineering? According to, the Royal Academy of Engineering, addressing diversity and inclusion not only helps to bridge the UK’s engineering skills gap, it also drives innovation and creativity.
“Addressing diversity and inclusion will not only help bridge this gap, it will also help drive innovation and creativity”. Royal Academy of Engineering
They present a business case for diversity which includes:
- Addressing the engineering skills gap;
- Improved financial importance;
- Greater innovation and creativity;
- Inclusion-driven higher business performance;
- Increased motivation, productivity and retention;
- Improved customer orientation, and
- Increased customer satisfaction.
Retention of women in engineering in particular received attention this summer when UWE’s Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs published their paper ‘Catch 22 — improving visibility of women in science and engineering for both recruitment and retention‘. Drawing on their mentoring and outreach project Women Like Me, which relaunches next week, they propose that enhancing self-efficacy (Laura Fogg Rogers, along with Dr Tim Moss, also recently published research on a new Engineering Outreach Self-Efficacy Scale) for female scientists and engineers to mentor others will generate more supportive workplaces. Alongside this, supporting a female STEM professionals to undertake public engagement activities improves the visibility of diverse female role models for young girls. Ultimately, these social connections will enhance science capital for girls and other minorities.
Diversity in engineering isn’t just important in the UK. Sharon L. Walker writes about why diversity is key to the future of engineering for the University of California, highlighting the low proportion of women and people with Latino and African-American heritage in the US engineering workforce. Innovation and talent, profit, fair treatment and shifting demographics are explored as some of the reasons behind the need for a more diverse future workforce.
And Kerry Baker, posting on STEM Learning on the importance of diversity in engineering, explains how this affects all of us:
“…have you ever used something and thought: “This doesn’t work how I would like it to” or “If I’d made this I would have put it together differently”? If the answer is yes, then this is the reason why engineering needs people from all backgrounds and walks of life, it needs people with all sorts of different life experiences and thought processes”.STEM Learning
Dr Udonna Okeke tells us about a hugely successfull visit of his project, BAME girls in engineering, to Bristol Brunel Academy in this guest post.
BAME Girls in engineering in partnership with UWE BoxED, had an outreach event at the Bristol Brunel Academy on Thursday 9th May and I am extremely excited to say that the feedback from the school has been very positive.
The school is happy with our outreach project and are very keen for more outreach and other engagements with the project. Based on the feedback, the students are very happy with the outreach activities that took place and would like us to make a return visit.
Below is some of the feedback from the students:
“Excellent: it was fun, exiting and very interesting. The robotics coding was very fun, especially when we were controlling the robots”
“I thought it was very good and inspiring and I liked making the turbines and playing with the robots. I want the outreach to happen again on a Thursday”
“It was nice and fun when we listened to the talk and was given the opportunity to code and control the robots”.
This feedback means a lot to me and I am looking forward to the next phase of this project.
On Friday 8th March 2019, UWE Bristol project BAME Girls in Engineering celebrated International Women’s Day with a visit to Rolls Royce.
The project team, led by Dr Udonna Okeke, took BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) girls from City Academy Bristol to the Rolls Royce site in Filton for half a day. They received an inspirational presentation session by successful women at Rolls Royce from across the world, tours around the different facilities and a networking session with senior leadership and employees of Rolls Royce.
Udonna told us:
“The students left the event highly inspired, knowing that they can be the next generation of engineers that can impact the world.”
The Women’s Tech Hub~Bristol are hosting a careers fair in March, aimed at increasing diversity in the tech industry in the South West. Running on 15th and 16th March 2019, it’s free to all and all are welcome (but please be aware that it is a recruiter-free event). See below for more information from the Hub, and sign up to attend here.
The Bristol and South West tech industry is currently booming and we’re all aware that finding talent and keeping them has never been so difficult. We also know that careers change, people can learn and there’s a wealth of amazing people in the area who simply didn’t take up tech as an option. That, along with a variety of Universities, Colleges and training establishments in the area all creating talented tech graduates who we would love to stay in the region.
With all of this in mind we decided that we could help sort out some of these problems by working together so with the HBB, WTHub and Desklodge we came up with the power of three, set out to curate a Careers Fair and named it Tech³Shed (everything is Bristol is called Shed so we thought we may as well follow the trend!).
We know that the best way of finding a great job, or finding a great team member is far easier in a relaxed atmosphere and through getting to know them. We also know that recruitment fairs can be intimidating and that the world of tech can be slightly confusing for those on the outside. So we decided that we would put the two together and run workshops to help demistify things, introduce trainers and other options to help get you into tech and invite our members down to chat to the candidates and show what they have to offer.
Please note that this is a recruiter free event, any recruiters found approaching attendees or exhibitors will be asked to leave.
For more details see https://tech3shed.org/
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
The Event is for over 18’s – under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult and be over 14
Following the initiation of his new project, BAME girls in engineering, Dr Udonna Okeke tells us about the success of its first school visits in this guest post.
My team and I had our first two school visits for the project at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Secondary School and City Academy, Bristol. We were involved in workshop presentations and also shared our individual experiences to motivate and inspire the students.
Indeed, we recorded a great success and some of the feedback we received includes:
“It was noticed that the first thing the girls related to you all was regarding identity. This became a platform of introduction/ an ice-breaker, where-by discussing which part of Africa you were from, in relation to their own backgrounds allowed for a rapport to have been built between your groups very quickly”
“This is fun’ ‘Are we going to get to do this again? Can we?”
“Engagement was fantastic. Groups of around 5 or 6 per facilitator made it more valuable. They were asked to think about their personal barriers to success, where they want to be in 5-10 years, how they will get there”.
“Each facilitator had a personal success story, so they were able to share that, they were calm, engaging and clearly knew how to work with this age group”.
“Lots of laughter, good contributions, no behaviour problems, the girls did CAB proud”.
In 2019, I look forward to more school visits, mentorship meetings, industry visits and the success stories that will follow.
This is a guest post by Ana Miguel Lazaro, Student Inclusivity Project Officer at UWE Bristol. Ana is part of UWE’s SpeakUp campaign, which aims to create an inclusive campus where diversity is celebrated, antisocial attitudes and behaviours are challenged and any type of harassment, assault and discrimination aren’t acceptable – and is asking you to #SpeakUp if you see or hear something that’s not right, and be an active bystander.
Monday 26th November, 15:00-17:00, Bristol Business School, 4X113, Frenchay campus
In recognition of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25th November 2018), UWE Bristol is hosting a panel discussion to continue conversations around violence and abuse.
A new campaign called SpeakUp has been launched to help UWE Bristol students and staff speak up and report unacceptable behaviour such as harassment, discrimination and violence. SpeakUp has been introduced this term to raise awareness and prevent these types of incidents on campus.
Join us to:
- Hear from our UWE Bristol panel of experts in the field and ask them questions
- Learn about the SpeakUp Campaign and collect your SpeakUp badge
- Enjoy the refreshments
The panel includes Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Jane Harrington, Professor of Criminology Kieran McCartan, Associate Head of Department Research – Education and Childhood Helen Bovill and Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK Anthea Sully.
Please register for this event via Jotform as spaces are limited.
Unable to attend? Learn more about the SpeakUp campaign on the UWE Bristol website, or sign the White Ribbon Pledge to end male violence against women.
The Association for Science Education (ASE) website offers a range of ‘girls into science‘ resources, with articles from leading women in science, primary activities, and global projects. These are a useful resource for anyone wanting to encourage girls to think about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects as relevant to them, including the engineers taking part in our Women Like Me programme for supporting women and girls in engineering.
Still too low
“The overall proportion of girls taking physics A-level has remained stubbornly close to 20% for the last three decades.”
“Girls perform just as well as boys in physics at GCSE. However, in 2016, only 1.9% of girls chose A-level physics, compared to 6.5% of boys. This represents 5,669 girls compared to 21,032 boys.” – Why Not Physics? Report from IOP, 2018
Statistics and the arguments are laid out in the September issue of ASE’s Education in Science, in an article on the Institute of Physics’ work in the area.
Could your school make a difference for girls in STEM?
The Department for Education (DfE) and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) are looking for state-funded secondary schools to test interventions to get more girls to take STEM A-levels. The pilot is promised not to be burdensome and participating schools can access free resources, targeted interventions and a bespoke report on how they can inspire girls. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final year female students in Engineering and related disciplines at UWE Bristol are to receive mentoring from professionals in industry through a Women’s Engineering Society (WES) scheme.
A group of students planning to take up employment after they graduate will be supported by an external mentor who will guide them in considering their options and help them to make a successful transition from University to work.
The free programme is launching at UWE Bristol on 22nd November 2018 with training introduce the WES scheme, discussing matching with mentors, and explaining how to get the best out of the scheme. It complements our Royal Academy of Engineering funded Women Like Me programme for female engineers post-graduation by providing mentoring for female undergraduate engineers.
Mentoring is provided through the Women’s Engineering Society and is funded by a grant from the Arconic Foundation.
This is a guest post by Dr Antonia Tzemanaki from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, who coordinates the Bristol Women in Robotics group. Women in Robotics Bristol/South West is part of a global professional network for women in robotics, such as our very own Women Like Me engineer Pavlina Theodosiou, and women who want to be. They promote the visibility of women in robotics.
The most recent meet-up of the Bristol Women in Robotics group took place on Thursday 8th November 2018. 14 women attended, including staff from UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol and OpenBionics as well as new MSc and PhD students. It was a great mix between older and newer generations of roboticists and topics included internships, exchanging help on application writing and discussing future collaborations among others.
The next meetup will take place in the next couple of months, make sure to subscribe to our emailing list if you are interested and join our Slack channel. Ideas for events are always welcome!
You can also follow Bristol Women in Robotics on Twitter.
Yesterday we were delighted to announce the launch Udonna Okeke’s new UWE Bristol project, BAME girls in Engineering, and we now have the exciting news that dates for the first two school visits for the project have been set. What better way to round off Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018 than helping to inspire the next generation?
The project offers opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) girls, who are often under-represented in engineering, in Years 8 and 9 to visit local engineering or technology employers and to participate in mentoring meetings with professional BAME women in engineering role models.
Udonna has arranged two sessions on Wednesday 21st November for BAME girls and women in engineering to meet in group mentoring meetings.
These will take place at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Secondary School in the morning and City Academy in the afternoon.
Engineers will be involved in workshop presentation and sharing of their individual experiences that can help motivate and inspire the students.
Udonna is currently looking for BAME women in engineering to get involved as mentors; he will organise for a taxi to pick you up from your preferred location in Bristol to take you to the City Academy or St Mary Redcliffe.
If you would like to be involved, please get in touch with Udonna.