160 students tune into female engineering panel discussion
HOSTS OF an online panel event hope they have inspired young women to consider a career in engineering.
Last Wednesday, female engineers from Thames Water hosted a virtual panel discussion for 160 students aged 11 to 14.
In line with International Women in Engineering Day, which took place on June, 23, the discussion aimed to raise the profile of women in engineering and highlight the many career opportunities available in the industry.
The panel discussed how Thames Water, society and the education sector can support a more diverse workforce, challenge stereotypes and provide greater opportunities forwomen and girls in engineering.
Katherine Whatley, one of the speakers and a Thames Water technician, said: “As an apprenticeship graduate and female engineer, I think it’s important to champion women in engineering.
“I wanted to take part in this event because I feel that as a subject and a career engineering isn’t often perceived as an option for girls at school, and I think that it is vitally important to spread the message that it is an exciting opportunity and worthwhile career path.
“I love that I have such a practical and active job. Engineering has such a broad scope and there are so many girls and women that could benefit from and thrive in this environment.”
Dina Gillespie and Cheryl Atkinson from Thames Water, as well as representatives of UTC Reading, a college specialising in engineering and computer science, also spoke during the session.
Stephanie Mitchell, executive director of careers and destinations at UTC Reading, said: “Having always been a female teacher in engineering-based subjects, there have been times that I have had to teach whole classes of male students.
“When this scenario occurs, it becomes an opportunity to teach them about engineering and to become allies to their female peers.”
Aspiring engineers from across the UK tuned in to the event to learn about possible careers.