Girls from all Bailiwick high schools and colleges took part in engineering activities yesterday in recognition of Women in Engineering Day.
The event, hosted by the College of Further Education, saw 160 learn more about careers in engineering including air traffic control, the airport fire service, astronomy and bioplastics.
Engineering programme leader, Mark Pratt, said that it was important to give girls the opportunity to learn more about engineering.
Pictured: La Mare de Carteret pupils trying a "Jacket Building Game" using spaghetti and marshmallows.
“Coming from industry to teaching, I recognise straight away that, if you put a female in a room of engineers, the dynamics changes,” said Mr Pratt.
“The room becomes much more focused. Girls are good problem solvers, logical thinkers and are natural engineers.
“We’re not asking everyone to become engineers today, we’re asking them to go away and consider STEM subjects because they can lead on to very interesting futures.”
Mr Pratt said that girls should not be apprehensive about considering engineering.
“Engineering has changed. It’s become much more technological, there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be in engineering,” he said.
“For any girls who aren’t sure about trying it, I would say step into your fear. You don’t know until you’ve tried it.”
Pictured: Ladies College students Ria Thapliyal (left) and Lauren Walsh are considering careers in medicine and microbiology respectively.
Some of the activities included learning about wind turbines, solar power and solving wifi problems.
St Sampson’s High School student, Amelia Winsall, 15, said she had enjoyed the presentations about climate change.
“It’s definitely eye opening coming here and getting to learn different things. I’m happy that I get to learn about everything to see what I might be interested in,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to the presentations about aero engineering and astronomy.”
Two year 12 students from Ladies College who had attended the annual event when they were in year nine, returned this year to give presentations.
Lauren Walsh, 17, said that the event had sparked her interest in science.
“When I came here the first time and thought about science careers medicine was the only one we were taught about,” she said.
Pictured: College of Further Education engineering programme leader, Mark Pratt, said women are "natural engineers".
Miss Walsh continued: “While medicine is no doubt a great career, this even opened my mind to the other options and I found a passion for science doing the different activities.
"I’m looking to go into microbiology and helping the environment."
Ria Thapliyal, 17, agreed: “When I came in year nine it was a great opportunity to see what is out there career wise and appreciate how much choice we have. In the past, women didn’t have as many options.
“I think I want to go into medicine but seeing the engineering side it’s great to be appreciative of all the different careers.
“Everyone has different interests and they’re all equally as good as each other.”
The event was sponsored by Guernsey Energy, Guernsey Electricity and Sure.
Pictured: Students took part in a variety of activities to learn about different aspects of engineering.
A poll conducted at the start of the day showed that 10% of the attendees were already considering careers in engineering.
“Interestingly, the majority said they don’t yet know whether they want a career in engineering,” said Mr Pratt.
“That’s great because it means we can work on them and, hopefully, by the end of the day we might have more interested.”
Mr Pratt said he would encourage women of any age to see what options are available.
Pictured: Students were given talks about the airport fire service. (Credit: Chris George.)
“We have an apprenticeship scheme and have found that apprentices are waiting until they’re older to start so it’s always an option,” said Mr Pratt.
“If we had enough interest, we might be able to offer short courses as well.
“Hopefully one day we won’t need to have a women in engineering day, it will just be an engineering day. Until then, this event is a really good platform."
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