In support of International Women in Engineering Day, Cranfield teamed up with Boeing and other industry partners to host ‘Aim High’, an engineering careers showcase for young female students.
Girls aged 12 to 17 from local schools, including Samuel Whitbread Academy, Bedford Girls School and Holywell Middle School, visited the University to meet researchers, academics and students as well as members of industry including Boeing, Marshalls Aerospace and Defence Group, Renault F1 sports team and Mott MacDonald.
Interactive workshops focused on careers as diverse as space, cyber security, drones, flight dynamics, advanced motorsport, energy systems and manufacturing. The professionals provided information about why working in engineering is a great career, explaining how they got to where they are and providing advice ‘to my 14-year-old self’.
Tours were conducted to the University’s engineering research areas including the Intelligent Mobility Engineering Centre, where pupils experienced Formula 1 simulators, and the Safety and Accident Investigation laboratory, where the University’s work in aviation safety was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011.
Later in the day, a panel discussion and industry networking event explored: 'What industry could do to recruit and retain more women engineers'. Speakers included representatives from Virgin Atlantic, the Government’s Air Accident Investigation Board, Boeing and GKN Aerospace.
Jaq Moore, Cranfield’s Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development, said: “We are fully committed to gender equality and diversity in higher education and research at Cranfield. Emphasising the career opportunities available in engineering and technical roles for girls and the progression of women to senior careers in STEM provides role models for the future.”
Sir Michael Arthur, President, Boeing Europe and Managing Director, Boeing UK and Ireland, said: “In Boeing we are acutely aware that we will not maintain the competitiveness required to sustain our position as the world's largest aerospace and defence company if we don't recruit and retain the best talent worldwide. The best talent means a diverse workforce and Boeing is actively committed to increasing the number of women in engineering through grassroots initiatives and programmes designed to bring down the barriers to an engineering career path. Boeing proudly supports International Women in Engineering day and the great work to inspire future female innovators."
Two of the pupils were invited to return to the University later in the week to join a Q&A session with Christiana Figueres, one of Cranfield’s 2017 honorary graduates, who is Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
During her tenure at the UNFCCC, Ms Figueres was one of the chief architects of the Paris climate conference (COP21), when, in December 2015, 195 sovereign nations adopted the first-ever universal and legally-binding global climate agreement to cut greenhouse emissions and limit future global warming to below 2oC.
About Cranfield University
Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.