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College celebrates women in engineering

29th June 2015

Barking & Dagenham College helped young women learn about the opportunities in engineering this week, as part of a project to mark Women in Engineering Day on Tuesday 23 June 2015.

Local schools

The College, which was celebrating Women in Engineering Day (23 June), invited local school children into the College to showcase the opportunities open to women in the industry. It was a chance to give the young pupils a greater understanding of what the engineering industry is all about and show them that women can make their mark in the traditionally male dominated industry.

As well as lots of engineering focused activities, the pupils also got to hear from Emily Wakeford, Manufacturing Excellence Manager at Unilever’s spreads and dressings factory in Purfleet, who was keen to share her passion about engineering with the pupils. Emily’s role at Unilever sees her improve efficiency and productivity on the production lines producing brands such as Flora, Hellman’s and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!.

Tackling stereotypes

Demystifying the engineering sector for the attentive audience Emily explained:

“Engineering is as much about being able to work well with people, being a good team player and leader, as it is about problem solving and technical know-how. Being an engineer is not just about the stereotype of working in a dirty environment with your head under a car bonnet or up to your elbows in machinery parts.”

Royal Academy of Engineers

The day was packed with activities for the pupils, which included creating computer designed key rings which were then laser cut and designing products that could open the top of a bottle to help understand why engineering was important. This was run by members of the Royal Academy of Engineers, who were glad to be able to talk to the students about engineering and the routes into the industry.

Emily also told pupils how she herself got into engineering, telling them:

“I enjoyed science, maths and technology at school and went on to study engineering at university, but there are other routes such as apprenticeships and industrial placements which can really unlock opportunities.

"With such strong global competition, businesses increasingly need to get their products to market faster and more efficiently than their competitors, so there will always be exciting careers in engineering for talented people who enjoy problem solving and understanding how things work.”

The day was a great success with pupils and their teachers commenting on how much they had learnt about engineering thanks to the event and that it had given them lots to think about in terms of career choices.

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