Aberdeen's first Women in Engineering Conference begins at University

Aberdeen's first Women in Engineering Conference begins at University

More than 40 girls from throughout the UK are taking part in Aberdeen's first Women in Engineering Conference.

The University of Aberdeen has joined forces with St Margaret’s School for Girls and oil and gas company Chevron for the three-day event, which aims to show participants the huge range of future career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The successful applicants, all aged 15-17 years old, will take in a highly interactive programme with hands-on activities, engineering-based tasks, team challenges and speed mentoring sessions with female engineers.

A full evening programme has been planned, allowing attendees a taste of life in a halls of residence, a chance to experience the many sporting facilities on offer, and university life in general.

They will also visit Chevron’s Aberdeen HQ, where they will see the integrated operations centre and emergency response room giving them an opportunity to interact with engineers working both on and off shore.

Professor Ana Ivanovic of the University of Aberdeen said: “I am delighted to be involved in this year’s Women in Engineering Conference, which builds on the success of previous events that the University has held in partnership with St Margaret’s School for Girls.

“I believe that the next generation of female engineers has an important role to play in using their creative and team-working skills to change perceptions of the industry, and this year’s conference includes interactive exercises that give young female engineers the chance to apply these skills, while learning more about current issues and career opportunities in this fast-moving profession.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the talent and enthusiasm shown by young women at previous events, and I’m looking forward to working with another group of promising female engineers as we welcome them to the University for the conference.”

St Margaret’s head teacher Anna Tomlinson said that the idea for the conference was borne from two hugely successful one-day Women in Engineering events, which the school held in partnership with the University’s Department of Engineering in 2016 and 2017.    

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the girls to the conference, where they will have the opportunity to explore engineering in both a university environment and the workplace,” she said.

“Over the past couple of years, St Margaret’s has been working with the University to try to break down some of the barriers which prevent girls from considering a career in engineering, so we were very encouraged and delighted when we had so many applications, both locally and from throughout the UK.

“As the only girls’ school in Aberdeen, we have long been committed to eradicating gender stereotype around subject and career choice. Our intention is that we will not only redress any misconceptions about the engineering industry, but that we will inspire the next generation of female engineers. Having face-to-face contact with female engineers should certainly help to do just that.”

Professor Igor Guz, Head of School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, added: “2018 is the Year of Engineering, however the percentage of women in the engineering profession remains low.

“We would like to be at the forefront of the solution and join the efforts of schools, universities and industry leaders to tackle this challenge. We are proud to be associated with St Margaret’s School for Girls and Chevron in organising this conference and demonstrating to the participants that engineering is an excellent career choice for young women.”