Building the future

Over 120 talented female students from Sixth Forms across Britain have been inspired to study engineering and architecture here at Bath following a weekend long event in the city.

At the 'Engineering and Architecture Conference' hosted at The Royal High School Bath, students from The Girls’ Day School Trust network came together for workshops, lectures and seminars to embrace the possibilities offered by studying Engineering or Architecture at University, or to take up valuable apprenticeships and to hear from leading employers in both fields.

Students get ready to enter the Chemical Engineering lab.

Students get ready to enter the Chemical Engineering lab.

Recent research by the Architects’ Journal showed that just 12 per cent of partners in architecture practices are female and according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology, only 7 per cent of engineers are women, the lowest proportion in Europe. This unique event aimed to challenge the perception that careers in these areas are better suited to men.

Our Faculty of Engineering and Design partnered with the Girls' Day School Trust and The Royal High School Bath to host an afternoon on campus for the students, giving them a unique insight into studying engineering and architecture at university.

Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jane Millar, Stephanie Gan (Higher Education IAG Manager), and Dr Valeska Ting, recipient of a Prize Research Fellowship in Smart Nanomaterials here at the University, helped visiting students explore the world of research in Chemical, Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical and Civil Engineering and Architecture.

Dr Ting said: "I was really pleased to be able to contribute to this event. I enjoyed being able to share some of my experiences and what I love about my job, and I hope that it encouraged some of these students to pursue engineering as a career."

Having fun with robotics

Having fun with robotics

One of the students attending the event said: "It was so exciting to be part of a university Faculty, even for a short time, because for a lot of us, this is where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing in a year’s time."

Rebecca Dougall, Head of The Royal High School Bath, said: "As Head of a forward-thinking girls’ school, I am passionate about championing young womens’ entitlement to all careers. We were really privileged to work on this event in partnership with institutions, companies and role models from a wide range of Engineering specialisms and Architecture.

"With fantastic collaborative endeavours such as this, concerted action across the STEM learning landscape to build girls’ confidence in their capability in subjects such as Physics and Maths and consistent, high-quality teaching, we can and we will deliver the skilled young women who can meet the engineering and design

Students consider an engineering or architecture course at the University of Bath.

Students consider an engineering or architecture course at the University of Bath.

challenges of the future. We are also able to focus on and share the tremendous engineering and architectural heritage we are so fortunate to have in Bath."

The conference concluded with a key note speech from Jenny Body OBE, the first female President of the Royal Aeronautical Society. Students were given an inside view of the workplace and the opportunities that exist in the engineering and architectural sectors. Jenny Body pointed out that there are no women at all in technical board positions in the UK, but added: "Having looked through the EAC programme, my colleagues and I are envious, because at your age I would have been so excited to learn what you are learning today. You are the future of engineering."

Students had an intensive weekend but the feedback has been phenomenal. "The conference gave me the opportunity to spend time with like-minded young women and to network with inspirational figures from the worlds of academia, architecture and engineering," said one and another: "It was fun. Both socially and academically it reinforced my aspiration to become an engineer."

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We are one of the UK's leading universities with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. Our Mission is to deliver world class research and teaching, educating our graduates to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and influence. Our courses are innovative and interdisciplinary and we have an outstanding record of graduate employment.