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National Women in Engineering Day

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Winchester Science Centre was taken over by females on 23 June, all in support of ‘National Women in Engineering Day’

The Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium opened its doors to over 80 girls between 12 -14 years old from local schools and a number of (mostly) female STEM Ambassadors from local companies.

The idea behind ‘National Women in Engineering Day’ was to raise the profile of engineering to female school students and to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering.

The morning part of the day saw the girls divide into groups for workshop purposes. Matchtech, an engineering recruitment agency led a workshop asking the girls to test their soft skills, creativity and teamwork in a challenge named the ‘Spaghetti Tower’. The girls were asked to create the tallest and strongest tower with just the listed items; String, spaghetti, sticky tape, marshmallows and scissors. Naturally, this activity was particularly popular with the girls, the top prize being; marshmallows of course!

GE Aviation led two sessions, one ‘Paper Aeroplane’ challenge and in the second workshop STEM Ambassadors discussed the role of ‘Airline Data Analysts’ within GE Aviation.

Local technology company IBM came to work with the girls on design and thinking, giving them a problem to solve and then to develop their solution. Amongst many other fantastic ideas, the girls invented; ‘Motorised Shoes’, ‘Robot Doctors’ and ‘Underground Recycle Shoots’.

BAE Systems, a local navy manufacturer, worked with the girls to build and dismantle, build and dismantle, build and dismantle large lego ships!

The second part of the morning aptly titled ‘speed networking’ gave the girls the chance to speak to a number STEM Ambassadors in small groups. The girls were given free reign of questions to ask the STEM Ambassadors resulting in honest and inspiring answers!

After lunch, the girls were gathered in the Planetarium for a small awards ceremony, which highlighted some of the most creative individuals, followed by three inspiring talks from female STEM Ambassadors from BAE Systems and Matchtech. Abbi and Stephy from BAE Systems spoke about their very different journeys to becoming female Marine Engineering Apprentices and their love for the profession. In a final inspiring push, the Matchtech STEM Ambassadors(Selina and Charlotte) informed the girls of the severe shortage of engineers in the UK and the number of companies who want to attract more females to the industry.

At the end of the day the girls were treated to a bespoke show in the Planetarium.