Held at Truro High School, 122 girls from schools across the county took part in a range of interactive sessions designed to excite their interest in engineering as a career. To help them discover the many opportunities on offer, representatives from a number of different businesses and organisations were on hand to chat about their own experiences and demonstrate what their jobs involved.
Dr Rachel Nicholls-Lee of Falmouth-based Mojo Maritime gave the day’s keynote speech before joining colleagues and students in one of the laboratories to build a tidal barrage. Now working in the renewables sector, she explained that she had wanted to become an architect before careers advice when she was seventeen inspired her to do a degree in naval architecture at Southampton University instead.
“It was really hard work – I describe it as rocket science plus water,” she said. “When I moved out of academia and into the engineering industry I did encounter sexism and sometimes still do. As a woman you have to prove yourself every step of the way.”
Sarah Lowndes is a project engineer with LM Handling in Tolvaddon Business Park, Camborne. Responsible for coordinating lifting and handling equipment for offshore piling and subsea construction works, she did a degree in mining engineering after a week’s work experience when she was fifteen.
“I’m originally from Nottingham but moved to Cornwall to study at Camborne School of Mines,” she said. “I love what I do and think I get treated better because I’m a woman. I’m currently the only female in our team.”
Maddie McCloud, 13, from Truro High School, said she had found the engineering day very helpful.
“It’s been really interesting. I hadn’t realised that there were so many different things you can do in science. I like physics and loved building in chocolate. It’s amazing how much weight Milky Bars welded together can take.”
The schools taking part were Truro High, Falmouth School, Penryn College, Wadebridge, Pool Academy and Richard Lander.