Wednesday, December 4, 2019

News: AMRC inspires next generation of female engineers


More than 100 schoolgirls from across the Sheffield city region (SCR) have now been shown the huge potential of a career in engineering thanks to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's (AMRC's) #AMRCtribe campaign.

Fifty-four pupils, from schools in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield, were invited to the AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, in the latest event of a programme which aims to inspire young girls to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Attracting more women into engineering is one of the most serious challenges facing the industry and a large part of #AMRCtribe, which launched in June this year, is to create a supportive network for teenagers to talk openly about their interest in STEM subjects and STEM-related careers. An exclusive social media group provides a safe environment for young women to talk in confidence to like-minded peers who may attend different schools.

Ami Swales, the AMRC’s STEM and Outreach Coordinator, said: "We want to connect young girls from the Sheffield City Region so they feel they’re not isolated. Often they can be the only one in their friendship group that is interested in engineering, but with #AMRCtribe they can meet other people who have similar interests and it might empower them to pursue that career.

"We invited five schools to this event and each has had tours of the AMRC Training Centre, the Design and Prototyping Centre, Factory of the Future, Nuclear AMRC and our Manufacturing Transporter (MANTRA)."


Following the tours the schoolgirls were then set an engineering group activity, working in mixed teams, to build a model Ferris wheel using little more that paper, masking tape, string and bolts.

Asha Spruce, 16, from UTC Sheffield, said: "I think #AMRCtribe is such a good initiative because women feel intimated going into such a male-dominated industry. Having the tribe means there is support there and it gives us women a chance to meet others doing the same thing.

“Seeing the Digital Operating Theatre in the Design and Prototyping Centre was so impressive, I have never seen anything like that before; it was the best part of the tour. I knew I wanted to be an engineer before coming to the AMRC but until I saw the Digital Operating Theatre, I didn’t know medical engineering was an option."

Speakers at the event, held at the AMRC's Knowledge Transfer Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, included Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Mark Wrigley and second year apprentice machinist at Boeing Sheffield, Rosie Davies.

Asha added: "Hearing from people like Rosie and seeing other female engineers working on the shop floor really inspires me; it shows that it can be done."

#AMRCtribe will continue throughout 2020, with further events for schools at the AMRC.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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