Social mobility charity Speakers for Schools is working with five employers in Northern Ireland to introduce female engineers to local students in Northern Ireland in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day 2022.
On Friday 24th June, 200 female students from St Louise’s College in Belfast aged 12-13 years old met with engineers at different stages in their career, learning about different pathways into engineering and construction and getting the opportunity to ask their burning questions.
There are many roles available within the field of engineering and staff were keen to highlight the variety of jobs within the sector. This includes bid writing teams for engineering contracts that are commissioned, procurement and planning roles, Social Impact Managers who connect engineering projects with the wider community and environment, Human Resources and other support services. Students also heard about the range of possible routes into these careers spanning extended work experience, apprenticeships, direct employment and through university.
The five employers involved were GRAHAM, Kainos, Seagate, School Employer Connections and Manufacturing NI, all of which have joined forces to tackle the gender gap in STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers.
Jill Crawford, Head of Engagement for Speakers for Schools NI, commented: “It is crucial we break down barriers and provide opportunities for young female students to meet female role models, particularly within engineering, to demystify these career pathways. We are committed to educating and informing young people on the huge array of exciting, dynamic and well-paid careers available out there, and we are delighted to partner with Graham, Kainos, Seagate, School Employer Connections and Manufacturing NI within the field of engineering to inspire the next generation”
Danielle Keenan, Social Responsibility Manager at Kainos, added: “At Kainos, we are committed to widening access to careers in computing for young people and members of under-represented groups to ensure they have the digital skills required for the future of work. We’re excited to build on our partnership with Speakers for Schools and to be a part of this amazing opportunity for young women. Our work experience programme has been designed to engage and inspire, and we can’t wait to give participants an incredible insight into their potential futures!”
Emer Murnaghan OBE, DfE Women in STEM Steering Group and Pulsar, said: “The business case for diversity in the workplace is very clear – Diversity & Inclusion is essential if we are to attract the next generation, become more innovative, drive productivity, improve profits, and sustain our business. Addressing the significant gender imbalance in Northern Ireland’s STEM sectors is critical to our success. Breaking down barriers and encouraging girls and young women to remain in the STEM skills pipeline by delivering initiatives such as this in Northern Ireland, where girls can explore the many varied, well paid, interesting and in-demand STEM career opportunities within their reach, is an important step. We are delighted to work with Speakers for Schools to inspire the next generation of women in STEM.”
To find out more, please visit: https://www.speakersforschools.org/northern-ireland/