On Friday, myself and 6 students in Year 8, attended a morning at Avon Rubber. They were hosting an event to celebrate #thinkSTEM and International Women in Engineering day.
We started the day with a brief introduction to the company, including meeting Charlotte, who is a Process Improvement Engineer. She told us what it was like to be a female engineer at Avon Rubber. According to her research, only 9% of the engineering workforce is female, so the session, was really useful to inspire the girls.
The girls then attended 2 workshops, the first with Nick Hunter, a Design Engineer. He gave the girls some tips on how to sketch and communicate their ideas. The second workshop was about their presenting skills. The girls had to identify good and bad presentation techniques, then test them out in small groups.
After a small break, we had a tour of the factory followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. Here the girls were able to hear form 4 different employees about their journey into engineering. They were then able to ask questions. It was really inspiring and encouraging to hear the engineers discuss their different routes into the job through University and onsite Apprenticeships. I was also pleased to hear many of them say Design and Technology was their favourite subject when at school and one they took at A level. They described how being an engineer allowed them to be creative, challenged them everyday and have diversity in their job.
The final session was a Design Challenge. There were 6 different schools present and the girls had to be in teams of 3-4. They were challenged to build a boat from a small range of materials, to hold one of Avon Rubbers respiratory masks. The specification was that the boat should fit on an A4 sheet of paper and be as small and lightweight as possible. Our students split into two groups of 3. Each group worked well communicating with each other and thinking about how best to meet the brief. After building the boats, the schools then had to test them out in a box of water. The teams were marked by 2 engineers from Avon Rubber. After the scores were added up, the first team (Grace Dickens, Joccoaa Weatherhead and Hannah Ranger) from St Augustine’s won! We were very proud of the girls and they each received a medal.