To encourage more female secondary school students to consider a career in engineering, Gloucestershire-based global engineering technologies company, Renishaw, held its first ever all-female virtual work experience week in April 2021. The week was part of Renishaw’s virtual engineering work experience scheme, which will host 140 students in years 10 to 13 during 2021.
Renishaw is encouraging more diversity in the engineering industry by providing empowering opportunities for women in the workplace and those entering the industry. The work experience week aimed to inspire girls to see roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as viable and achievable career options. Renishaw received over 250 applications for its work experience weeks, with a third of these from female students, which shows a growing interest in STEM careers from young women. During the application process the girls were able to apply to the all-female week or the mixed weeks that will all take place during the school holidays.
During the all-female work experience week the girls worked as teams on a project-based task to give them an insight into the various roles they could pursue in an engineering career. Each group of five girls was presented with an engineering challenge and asked to design a solution using computer aided design (CAD) software and cardboard prototypes. The groups were mentored virtually by a number of Renishaw employees in different roles, such as Project Managers, Design Engineers and Graduate Engineers. The girls also attended skills sessions where they learnt presentation skills, CAD tips and tricks, and CV writing skills.
“This work experience opportunity has been very helpful in teaching me about the opportunities available in the engineering industry and about Renishaw as a company,” explained one attendee. “What I have learnt will help me make more informed decisions about my future education and career.”
Parents were also invited to join the project presentations at the end of the week. One commented, “My daughter really seemed to enjoy the experience. It was lovely to see her confidence grow and I definitely feel this week has provided her with a stepping stone to help decide her future career.”
“The all-female week has given the girls the opportunity to build their confidence and learn more about working in the Engineering industry, without possibly feeling intimidated by working on their projects with large numbers of male students,” commented Sarah Lewis, Education Tutor and Technician at Renishaw. “Although this model does not fully replicate the real engineering world, we hope the girls saw how they could realise their potential and the rewarding nature of a a future career in Engineering.”
Renishaw has been running its structured group-based work experience weeks for seven years as part of its wider education outreach schemes. For more information about this year’s virtual work experience, visit https://www.renishaw.com/en/work-experience-weeks.