Truro High School inspires Cornwall’s young women to unlock their engineering potential
From testing model barrage ships in the school pool to getting under the bonnet of a professional rally car, girls from all over 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.
Hands-on activities included welding with chocolate, stepping into virtual reality, investigating 3D printing, constructing model wind turbines and much more.
There was even the opportunity to jump behind the wheel of a rally car for girls including 14-year-old Dotty Squibb who last week received news that she has won a sought-after spot on a one-week work placement with one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams, Williams F1.
Dr Rachel Nicholls-Lee, the school’s STEM governor and director of Falmouth-based Whiskerstay, gave the day’s keynote speech before joining pupils to build and test model barrage ships in the school’s swimming pool. Now running her own business in the naval architecture 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 Ship Science (Yacht & Small Craft) at Southampton University instead.
She said: “Women in Engineering day gets bigger every year both across the world and at Truro High. There has been so much to get hands-on with at school from rally cars to subsea ROVs and it’s been brilliant to see so many companies inspiring girls to see the incredible places engineering can take them.”
Currently only 9% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female. With the aim of redressing this imbalance, International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness of women in the engineering industry and the career opportunities available.
Year 8 Olivia Harvey from Truro High School, said she had found the day incredibly insightful. “It’s been great fun trying out so many different activities with girls I didn’t know and making new friends. Engineering seems really interesting and it was so inspiring to see that there are so many ways you can get involved: today has definitely made me consider the possibility that I might be an engineer someday.”
The companies involved were Whiskerstay, Kernow Marine Explorations, Pendennis Shipyard, the RAF, 3D Kernow CIC, the Roseland Observatory, WWA, Kier Construction, the Army, Batteries Unlimited, Rally Prep, the Plane Factory, BRE National Solar Centre, the Institution of Civil Engineers, University of Exeter, IntecSEA and WSP.