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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.