During Summer 2019 more than 40 girls from throughout the UK took part in Aberdeen’s first residential Women in Engineering Conference, which aimed to show them that future career opportunities are ‘endless’ in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
St Margaret’s School for Girls and the University of Aberdeen, sponsored and supported by oil and gas operator Chevron, have joined forces to hold the national residential event, which ran from 29th - 31st July 2019.
The successful applicants, all aged 15-17 years old, took part in a highly interactive programme with hands-on activities, engineering-based tasks, team challenges and speed mentoring sessions with female engineers.
Time was spent at Chevron’s Aberdeen offices, where the girls had the opportunity to quiz female engineers working in the oil and gas industry, take part in a live link-up with an offshore installation and participate in a mini exercise in the emergency operations room. A full evening programme was planned, allowing attendees a taste of life in a hall of residence, a chance to experience the many sporting facilities on offer and university life in general.
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 both 2016 and 2017.
“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.”
Greta Lydecker, Managing Director, Chevron Upstream Europe, said: “Chevron is a keen sponsor of STEM education activities both here in Aberdeen and worldwide, and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to demonstrate to these young women how relevant engineering is in the work place.
Professor Ana Ivanovic of the University of Aberdeen said: “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.”