A toolkit and training for youth climate social action

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A toolkit and training for effective youth climate comms and social action

UWE Bristol’s Science Communication Unit (SCU) is launching a new Youth Climate Action Toolkit to empower young people to act on things that matter to them. The toolkit is suitable for 16-24-year-olds, and we encourage you to please download and share the kit with any (young) person you think may benefit from these tools!

The newly developed toolkit has been produced in partnership with young people from the Avon Schools Eco Network, following pilot training held with the DETI Inspire team in the School of Engineering.

The pilot involved 12 young climate activists who learnt how to be more effective with their own campaigning, whilst forming the foundations of this new toolkit to support other young people. As well as empowering young people to act, the toolkit aims to speak with and engage diverse audiences that may not otherwise take part (e.g., through filmmaking, persuasive writing and interactive stalls, etc).

What is inside the toolkit?

To allow any young person to use the materials independently of the training, the toolkit has been designed to stand-alone or complement the training. It consists of four sections:

  • Section one: lays the foundations for effective team working, with a skills audit for young people to assess their baseline entrepreneurial skills for sustainability, and time set aside to define their action project based on need
  • Section two: encourages readers to understand different worldviews – including those from different sides of the political spectrum, and people in positions of power and influence
  • Section three: drills down into the communication methods, allowing readers to select the right method for their audience and to prototype and test their communications
  • Section four: encourages readers to reflect on their learnings, re-assess their skills and evaluate the impact of their communications

Training in the community

The SCU team have also been delivering the Youth Climate Communications to local colleges and youth groups. The training is modular, which allows it to be adapted to suit the needs and interests of the organisations involved.

The training is already being modified to suit the needs of one college, where they have aims to support a more sustainable educational environment by delivering to their students over a two-week period at the end of term. Students will vote on a priority for action within their college and then work in teams, with the support of a coach, developing a communications and behaviour change campaign which could then be delivered in the following term.

The young people’s experience of the programme is being evaluated to better understand whether their attitudes, skills and behaviours relating to sustainability, change as a result of the training. Findings will be shared on this blog later this year.

For empowerment programmes

Meanwhile, aspects of the training are also being delivered to participants of more established empowerment programmes, such as this year’s Catalyse Change programme, Bristol Education Partnership’s Climate Challenge and The Global Goals Centre’s Groundbreakers awards, with the toolkit also featuring in the Groundbreakers’ action pack.

A future aim of the project is to deliver the training online to youth groups and educational establishments across the country, and beyond, with training provided to educators to deliver the programme themselves. For a taster of what this training could look like, head to our YouTube where you can access the social media component of the training.

Where it all began

The training emerged from conversations among the SCU and colleagues about the desire to share our knowledge on climate communications and active citizenship more broadly, so when a funding opportunity arose the Unit was quick to pull together a team to make their dream a reality. The all-female team consists of academics and researchers in disciplines ranging from human geography, engineering, and environmental anthropology – to building physics and entrepreneurship. What unites them is a common interest in supporting young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to take action about things that matter to them.

This training is the first offering from UWE’s Climate Action Hub, also established by the SCU. The Hub is a place for researchers and students to connect with communities for climate action. There is already some work on campus doing just this, such as the children’s workshops delivered by DETI Inspire and Inspire Sustainability, but this is the first time training has been put in place to support the University and communities to do more.

To find out more about the in-person and online toolkit or to connect to the Climate Action Hub, email project manager Sophie Laggan.

To download the toolkit click here.

Engaging Children in STEM Through Storytelling

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After the success of this year’s scientist storytelling program in schools, the DETI Inspire team alongside the West of England STEM Ambassador hub is once again offering the highly requested training session to scientists in the South West.

Training session is taking place on 13th July, 4 – 6pm at UWE’s Frenchay campus.

Once trained, STEM Ambassadors will take specially selected books into schools to read – the books are selected from a collection that features stories with people from minority ethnicity backgrounds, women, and those with a neurodivergent brain having fun with science! These stories, and the real-life scientists reading them enable children to see a more diverse picture of science , helping them to “see themselves” as scientists.

Get Involved

To ensure the continued success of this outreach activity and visit more schools and children, we’re looking for more ambassadors to sign up to the free training session.

If you are already an approved STEM Ambassador, you can view the offer and sign up to the event here:

https://www.stem.org.uk/platform/activity/5e4f397b-df05-4db5-94a2-357bd195851a

If not, you can register interest through the following Eventbrite link:

https://curiousstories.eventbrite.co.uk

We’re running the training as a hybrid event, with Zoom as an option if you can’t make it in, however, we highly recommend you join us face-to-face on the 13th of July  at UWE Bristol.

The session will last approximately 2 hours and will be led by an experienced primary educator (Jane Carter from UWE’s Education unit) who will teach  you how to present fantastic stereotype-challenging stories to children. And you’ll get a chance to have a go! Readings in schools will take place during the new school year (September 2022 onwards) and also during Bristol’s Storytale Festival in October halfterm.

Local Schools Take on Sustainable Transport Challenge

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School children from across the West of England came to UWE Bristol recently to share their sustainable transport designs with engineers and peers over a day full of fun and engaging activities.

Alongside the team from Graphic Science, the students designed in school vehicles that could cross both water and land, travel hundreds of miles, and sustainably achieve this feat. They were then invited to display their vehicles in the Engineering Building at UWE Frenchay Campus where they showed off detailed models and articulated how their journey could be achieved with as minimal waste as possible.

Students showing off their sustainable transport design.

After presenting their designs to their peers and members of the Engineering department at UWE, Students enjoyed an inspiring talk from a member of the Bristol Gulls team, Sarah Hunt, who rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic in an Eco Ocean rowing boat built to have minimal impact on the environment. This was particularly popular with the children as they could see a real-life example of what they designed themselves, ask plenty of questions, and watch their teachers try the dehydrated curry and rice pudding enjoyed by the Gulls during their 47-day journey!

Additional events included an immersive mobile-planetarium show, “Engineering Our Future” made in collaboration with Explorer Dome, a sustainability tour of the award-winning Engineering building by the UWE Frenchay groundskeeper, and a Minecraft sustainable transport challenge led by the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Inspire team, tasking students to digitally engineer new ways to cross the Bristol Harbour in a scale recreation of the S.S. Great Britain area.”

UWE Bristol professor wins prestigious engineering award

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UWE Bristol’s Head of Engineering Design and Mathematics has been recognised for her work to increase diversity in engineering.

Professor Lisa Brodie collected an Enginuity Skills Awards at a ceremony in London, seeing off competition from two shortlisted entrants in the Diversity in Engineering category.

The award recognises organisations, individuals or a team that has delivered a specific scheme, project, or initiative, that significantly contributes to shifting the dial of equality, diversity, and inclusion within the engineering and manufacturing industries.

Professor Brodie has overseen the development of the new School of Engineering building to ensure it has been designed with neurodiverse students in mind. The facility was co-designed in conjunction with a new engineering curriculum, to create a supportive environment for students from under-represented backgrounds. The building is equipped with individual study spaces designed to support students with sensory issues, such as people with autism who can benefit from features including white noise bubble tubes and adjustable, muted lighting.

In addition, Professor Brodie leads the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) Skills programme, which aims to improve diversity in recruitment into STEM industries (particularly engineering) while also enhancing retention of skilled engineers in the industry.

The Inspire programme has had particular success, reaching over 7,000 children in the South West so far. Some 42 per cent of the schools participating in face-to-face activities have been from the most deprived 20% of the country. The children have been exposed to innovative engineering workshops that connect them with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

Professor Brodie said: “It’s just phenomenal to get this award. I’m really excited and proud. We’ve been working hard at the university to really make a change in engineering, particularly around autism and engineers and diversity. We need different minds. If we don’t have a diversity of minds, then we’re not going to get all the solutions we need.”

Tod Burton, Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Environment and Technology, said: “We are all very proud of Professor Brodie and the work her team have tirelessly carried out developing an inclusive Engineering community here at UWE. This prestigious award from Enginuity justly recognises her efforts and the influence Lisa is having across the sector – a true reflection of UWE values.”


This blog was first published by the UWE Bristol comms team, for more of the latest news visit https://www.uwe.ac.uk/news

New round of peer mentoring and outreach project, Women Like Me, for 2022

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Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project, aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.

How does it work?

Women Like Me pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to undertake mentoring and engineering education outreach 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.

Why is this important?

Only 12% of engineers in the UK are women. In order to support female engineers, more girls need to connect with engineering as a career, with positive female role models, and more women need to be supported to make a difference in the workplace.

Women Like Me is addressing this by pairing together women engineers to provide career and public engagement mentoring. Participating engineers deliver engineering engagement activities in local schools and at local public events, providing positive role models for young girls. Through this approach, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.

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 have been working in engineering for at least five years. Junior women engineers are those with less experience than this, and can include apprentices, trainees, undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (spring 2022) and end (winter 2022) of the project. We have an online training session planned for February, followed by an in-person networking event in March which will take place at UWE Bristol’s School of Engineering.

Senior engineers will receive support in mentoring and should meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project. This can take any form that best suits each pair.

Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities with local schools and public events. Coordination of activity is provided and supported by UWE.

Upcoming outreach activities include STEM workshops for schools and community groups, opportunities to get involved with regional competitions and celebration days such as the ‘If you were an engineer what would you do?’ competition by Primary Engineer, The Lego League, and the Great Science Share for Schools.

How do I sign up?

To take part in the project this year, interested participants should complete the appropriate online survey:

Senior Engineers (over 5 years experience) please complete this survey

Junior Engineers (less than 5 years experience) please complete this survey

The project coordinators will then be in touch having allocated the mentor/mentee pairs.

Want some more info?

This project was first launched in 2018 and is based in the Science Communication Unit and School of Engineering at UWE Bristol. The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs with support from Ana Bristow and Dr Louisa Cockbill, and was initiated by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers. It is supported by the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI).

You can read about the successes of the project in previous years and access the 2018-2019 project report. A paper in the Journal of Science Communication, Fogg-Rogers and Hobbs (2019) places Women Like Me in the context of recruitment and retention of women in engineering.

For any further information please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter for updates.

Women Like Me supports another 30 women in engineering

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Based in the Science Communication Unit and Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol and organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project, aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. It is supported by the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI).

After launching a new round in November 2020, the project has recently inducted a new cohort. Thirty women in engineering have been matched into 15 mentoring pairs, connecting senior engineers with junior engineers. The junior engineers are being linked to outreach opportunities, which despite current restrictions are available to undertake through remote provision and online platforms.

Participating engineers in this cohort come to the project from a range of engineering fields, including aerospace, civil engineering, renewable energy, robotics and more. Outreach opportunities such as The Big Beam In are available to participate in, with more to come.

With women making up only 12% of engineers in the UK, more girls need to connect with engineering as a career, with positive female role models, and more women need to be supported to make a difference in the workplace. Find out more about the importance of diversity in engineering here.

Women Like Me addresses this by pairing mid-career women engineers with junior women engineers to provide career and public engagement mentoring. Junior engineers delivering engineering engagement activities in local schools and at local public events, provide positive role models for young girls. Through this approach, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.

Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & SimulationDigital Catapult, the University of the West of England, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. Industry partners include Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and CFMS, with in kind contributions from UWE, Digital Catapult and Siemens. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

WISE Webinar: Accommodating working parents in the tech sector

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“Why restrict our talent pool and drive away our most experienced people? Through this talk, I want to share our success stories, encouraging other companies to better accommodate working parents. A long-term career in technology is something that should be achievable for everyone, no matter what life brings you”

Jo Haslam

The Parent Trap: Accommodating working parents in the technology sector

Wednesday 12th February

2:00-2:30 pm

WISE members (which includes UWE Bristol) can sign up for this webinar on 12th February to hear from 2019 WISE Computing Award Winner Jo Haslam, as she explores how the technology sector is accommodating working parents.

You’ll hear about her experiences in the games industry, becoming a mother and being determined not to become another statistic.

Sign up here.

Women Like Me relaunches for 2019-20

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Only 12% 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.

To do something about that and bring people together, we launched ‘Women Like Me’, a project to open doors to girls and build resilience for women in engineering and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious scheme, last year at UWE Bristol.

The project was a huge success – we paired 21 mid-career (senior) women engineers with 21 junior women engineers (less than five years’ experience) in the Bristol and Bath area, in order to provide career and public engagement mentoring. The junior engineers took part in outreach activities resulting in over 10,240 children being engaged in with women engineers, through a variety of methods including school visits, public events and nationwide online presentations. After participating, engineers felt much more confident to undertake education outreach, and more likely to continue public engagement following the project. 

You can read more about the outcomes of Women Like Me in 2018-2019 in this blog post and in the project report.

Building on the achievements of the first year, Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers will once again 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.

If you are interested in taking part in Women Like Me in 2019-20, please read on to find out who can take part and how to apply.

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 have been working in engineering for more than five years. Junior women engineers are those with less than five years, and can include apprentices, trainees, students and postdoctoral researchers.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants during 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?

To apply for a place on this year’s programme, please complete the relevant enrolment form:

Women Like Me 2019-20 Junior engineer enrolment

Women Like Me 2019-20 Senior engineer enrolment

For more information, 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 and Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE). The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and was initiated by Dr 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.

The successes of Women Like Me 2018-2019

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In 2018, Women Like Me launched at UWE as a tiered mentoring project for women in engineering. Delivered by Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs, the project was a great success, engaging over 10,000 children with engineering outreach and significantly improving engineers’ confidence. Some findings of the first year’s project report are summarised here.

Only 12% of engineers in the UK are women. For democratic, utilitarian and equity reasons this is not enough. Both recruitment and retention are important – more girls need to connect with engineering as a creative, socially conscious, collaborative discipline, and more women need to be supported to make a difference in the workplace. 


Funded in 2018-2019 by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant, the ‘Curiosity Connections – Women Like Me’ project aimed to change this through tiered mentoring and role modelling. Previous research by Laura Fogg-Rogers indicates how important peer group and leadership support is for women, providing vicarious experience and changing social norms. This means that women need peer support to thrive in the workplace, and that girls need to see women succeeding in STEM careers in order to feel that engineering is for them. 


This project therefore paired 21 mid-career (senior) women engineers with 21 junior women engineers (less than five years’ experience) in the Bristol and Bath area, in order to provide career and public engagement mentoring. The outreach activities resulted in over 10,240 children being engaged in public engagement with women engineers, through a variety of methods including school visits, public events and nationwide online presentations. 

Junior engineers felt significantly more equipped to take part in public engagement


The junior engineers reported that they now feel significantly more equipped to take part in public engagement; 54% of junior engineers felt fairly well equipped before the project and this increased to 68% after the project, with 38% indicating they were very well equipped. Similarly, the mean score on the Engineering Outreach Self-Efficacy Scale significantly improved from 6.80 to 8.41 (out of 10). This indicates that the engineers are now much more confident to undertake education outreach, and are then more likely to continue public engagement following the project. 

The report therefore concludes that mentoring is highly important to ensure a supportive workplace, which means that women are more likely to be retained in the engineering industry.

The full report can be downloaded from the UWE research repository and a paper in Journal of Science Communication, drawing on the results, is now available (open access).

Women Like Me will relaunch in October 2019. To express an interest in taking part, please register your email address here.

Winning Leaders Award prototype unveiled at exhibition at UWE Bristol

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Last year, Hugh Sexey CE Middle School student Philippa Griffiths designed the Red Line Braking System for the Leaders Award competition, in response to the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”

The Leaders Award sets this challenge to encourage children to identify a problem that engineering could solve, and devise a solution. Philippa’s invention was picked as a winning design for the South West, and then selected to be turned into a working prototype by a team of UWE Bristol engineers. Philippa’s design displays variable red lights on the back of a vehicle to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed.

Our team of female student engineers from the university’s Women in Science and Engineering Society, including some taking part in our Royal Academy of Engineering funded project Women Like Me, turned Philippa’s idea into reality, visiting her school during the process and providing updates as they went.

Our team are:

The prototype was unveiled at the South West Leaders Award exhibition at UWE Bristol on Friday 14th June 2019 by Philippa, Katy and Miriam. The prototype, along with this year’s shortlisted entries, was also on display on Saturday 15th June at the University’s Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC). Hundreds of visitors of all ages were able to try it out, as well as taking part in exciting STEM activities provided by the MOD, Aerospace Bristol, and UWE. The displays included having a go with drones, Lego Mindstorm, and a virtual reality tour of the new Engineering Building.

Congratulations to Philippa and the team for designing and creating a fantastic new engineering solution!

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