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Young Weir Wise outreach engineering programme

Three students sitting at a table

Female S2 pupils from the length and breadth of the country took part in an outreach programme to inspire them to consider a career in engineering.

One hundred pupils from almost 70 schools were welcomed to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde as part of the ‘Young Weir Wise: Discovering Engineering programme’, funded by the Weir Group.

The non-residential two day programme saw female students from Aberdeen to the Borders taking part in a range of team based challenges, including designing a water filter and building Virtual Reality headsets.

The girls got a taster of Chemical & ProcessCivil & Environmental, Mechanical & Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.

Kaitlynn Morrison, 13, from Graeme High School in Falkirk, said: “I’ve really enjoyed trying out all the different types of engineering. I would like a career in engineering but I didn’t know what type, and it’s opened my eyes to what there is available. My favourite was Mechanical & Aerospace.”

Evidence shows that there is poor gender balance within many engineering degree courses in the UK. Science and engineering subjects can be viewed as being male dominated, which is increasingly far from the case.

Two students at a table

S2 is a crucial time, as if pupils fail to select Physics and Maths in their National 5 subject choices, it is more difficult to get the required qualifications to apply for an Engineering Degree.

Participants on the two courses in January learned about the benefits of choosing these subjects, creating an opportunity to study engineering that might otherwise be lost.

Professor Zoe Shipton, Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Strathclyde, said: “Engineering can be an exciting and rewarding career and we hope that our course with the Weir Group will show more girls it’s one that’s very much open to them.

 “The choices pupils make as early as S2 can impact their whole future and we want to change science and engineering subjects being seen as not for them.

“If pupils don’t select the right subjects at that point, it can be difficult to get the necessary qualifications to apply for an Engineering Degree.

“We hope the fun group activities and challenges will inspire some of the pupils to choose an exciting future in engineering.”

The Faculty of Engineering runs a number of outreach programmes, including the Scottish Space School and Engineering the Future for Girls.