Engineering a Future for Women

Girls from schools throughout the UK are being invited to apply to take part in a three-day event this summer aimed at showing them that future career opportunities are 'endless' in the area of engineering.

The second Women in Engineering Conference – which will take place from Monday, July 29, to Wednesday, July 31 - is a collaboration between The University of Aberdeen, St Margaret’s School for Girls, oil and gas company BP and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 29, and candidates will be selected on the basis of their application and school reference.

There are 45 spaces available for girls aged 15-17 on the fully-funded residential course, which will be hosted by the University; successful applicants will have an opportunity to explore engineering in both a university environment and the workplace and will stay in halls of residence supervised by experienced teachers. They will also receive a travel bursary.

An interactive programme with hands-on engineering-based tasks and speed mentoring sessions with female engineers has been planned, as has a visit to BP’s Aberdeen HQ.

Professor Igor Guz, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, said: “While progress is being made in encouraging women into engineering, the percentage of women in the profession remains low. Through initiatives like this, we are working to be at the forefront of efforts by schools, universities and industry leaders to tackle this challenge.

“This year we are working with Skills Development Scotland to offer students from widening access backgrounds the chance to take part in the conference, as part of our ongoing commitment to widening participation in higher education. I’d like to thank SDS, St Margaret’s School, and BP for their ongoing support, and look forward to welcoming schoolgirls from across the UK back on campus for this year’s event.”

St Margaret’s head teacher Anna Tomlinson said: “We are very excited to be in a position once again to offer the Women in Engineering conference alongside the University of Aberdeen, Skills Development Scotland and our new sponsor, BP, who have so generously supported the event.

“Last year was the first time we had held the event and it was hugely successful, with tremendous feedback from those girls who took part. They spent three days listening to lectures and meeting engineers and scientists who are at the cutting edge of their subject.

“As the only girls’ school in Aberdeen, we have long been committed to eradicating gender stereotype around subject and career choice. We consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have two world-class universities on our doorstep, which provide a diverse range of degree courses for those attracted to a STEM career. We are delighted to be working with the University once again, breaking down some of the barriers which prevent girls from considering a career in engineering.”

BP North Sea Regional President Ariel Flores said: “For 50 years BP has been supporting STEM education in the UK – encouraging boys and girls alike to pursue challenging and rewarding careers. It is our hope that through our support of initiatives like the Women in Engineering conference we can make a significant impact on how young people see themselves in relation to STEM careers.

“We hope the successful candidates have a rewarding experience, which shows them that the field of STEM is a worthwhile cause and career for them.”

Jenny MacDonald, Sector Development and Skills Planning Manager (Oil and Gas), said: “SDS are delighted to be a supporting partner for The Women in Engineering conference, and to have the opportunity to share the latest developments in work-based learning, including graduate apprenticeships, which can be a successful pathway into the engineering sector.

“Work-based learning provides the opportunity to blend academic learning with practical industry experience, leading to excellent career prospects and a salary from day one. It’s a great example of skills provision responding to industry need, bringing the skills system and industry closer together.

“The Women in Engineering conference offers young women the opportunity to explore the extensive opportunities a career in engineering can bring. It is critical as a sector with an increasing skills demand that we demonstrate engineering is an attractive and rewarding career path for talented and ambitious young women.”

To apply and be considered for a place at the three-day conference visit