BP in Hull, in conjunction with Hull & East Yorkshire (HEY) Children’s University and the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), held a STEM inspiration day for more than 60 nine to eleven-year-old girls from across the region.
BP has been supporting the teaching and learning of science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) for 50 years, but this year particularly, is celebrating engineering careers and the dedicated engineers we have working within BP. By connecting these engineers with young people, we can inspire students and show them the breadth of opportunities that lie ahead for them in their future.
These STEM inspiration days have been hosted across four BP UK sites this year in support of the UK Government’s Year of Engineering 2018 campaign, which is working alongside industry partners to offer young people a positive experience of engineering to help tackle the engineering skills gap in the UK.
The Hull event focused on highlighting the STEM subjects to girls, to help encourage more young women into engineering. According to the Women’s Engineering Society, in the UK women account for only 9% of the professional engineering workforce – this representation is far lower than the European average. It has also been widely publicised that the UK economy is experiencing a shortfall of engineers, which poses a serious threat to industry and the economy in general. Industry plays a vital part in the UK economy and a diverse workforce contributes to maintaining the UK’s competitive edge in the global economy.
Activities during the day ranged from helping the children understand how forces, in the form of thrusts and air resistance, affect the motion of a balloon rocket and how air resistance can be managed by designing a streamlined nose cone, to a structural engineering challenge using straws and marshmallows, and a team work and communication challenge using Lego.
Along with their Partnership with HEY Children’s University, BP in Hull also has a Schools Link partnership with the Ron Dearing UTC, which, backed by Hull University and the region’s leading employers, provides young people with an employer-driven academic, technical and vocational education. Students can join the UTC in year 10 (age 14) and year 12 (age 16). The event was held at Ron Dearing UTC, providing the school children with the opportunity to also see where they could aspire to study.
Ellie Westwood, BP Hull communications and engagement advisor, said: “At BP we believe it is important to work with young people to help them recognise the exciting STEM careers available to them. We know we need to work hard to encourage more girls to look at engineering as a future career, so our STEM inspiration day was a really wonderful way of helping these children from our local area meet our engineers and work with them to learn, experience and discover more about the world of science and engineering.
“During the day, we had lots of positive comments from the children, with many of them telling us they wanted to become scientists and engineers, so we hope that events like this can really help to open their eyes to the careers that engineering can provide.
“This was a great way to work with both HEY Children’s University and Ron Dearing UTC to engage with children who not only may not be aware of the opportunities on their doorstep for future jobs, but also for where they can study.”
Natasha Barley, director of HEY Children’s University, said: “Our charity is proud to be working with BP to raise the aspirations of girls from disadvantaged communities in Hull and the East Riding. We hope that events like this one encourage the girls taking part to be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Opportunities like this can change a child’s future as there are so many STEM related careers they can aspire to.”
Mark Ollerenshaw, vice principal at Ron Dearing UTC, added: “Ron Dearing UTC has a formidable relationship with both HEY Children’s University and BP.
“We are delighted to have been part of BP’s Year of Engineering STEM day. Our relationship with BP not only provides opportunities like this event, but gives students at Ron Dearing invaluable work experience, expert careers advice and guidance and support with our curriculum, too.
“As an employer-led STEM school we, along with our industry partners, are passionate about inspiring women to pursue careers in STEM subjects, and we are pleased to have worked alongside BP and HEY Children’s University to host an event to inspire the next generation of female engineers, scientists and digital technology experts.”