Meg Munn pictured with Year 10 students

UTC Sheffield Blazes A Trail For Girls

Pictured above: Meg Munn, Sheffield Heeley MP, with UTC Sheffield Year 10 students Caitlin Mavura, Jasmine Meynell and Amina Saricicek.

A campaign backed by a Sheffield MP to increase the number of girls taking up science, engineering and technology is gaining ground.

The number of girls joining Yorkshire’s first university technical college in Sheffield is increasing following work with employers and women’s groups.

This month, Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn, who is also Patron of the Women’s Engineering Society, visited UTC Sheffield, to meet students and tour the facilities. Her mission is to make South Yorkshire the first choice for young women who wish to study and work in these industries.

Meg Munn visited the £9.9 million facility, on Matilda Street, Sheffield city centre, which has 440 young people on the roll, on March 5th. Currently, 78 students are female, which amounts to 18% of all learners. And 30% of this year’s Year 10 students, who joined the UTC at aged 14, are girls.

Meg Munn MP said: “All of the hard work UTC Sheffield has done to inspire girls to think about career and study opportunities in science, engineering and technology is starting to pay off. It’s quite remarkable that in just its second year around 30% of Year 10 students joining the UTC are girls.”

She added: “All of these are brand new pupils who have taken the daunting step of moving schools when most of them are only 14 years old. I enjoyed speaking to the young women studying engineering and was encouraged by the knowledge they had of the range of careers open to them. Their enthusiasm for the future was infectious.”

Parents and young people can find out more about UTC Sheffield at a Year 10 taster event on Wednesday, March 18th, from 5.30pm until 7.00pm. Go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/utc-sheffield-taster-event-tickets-15514380931 for more details and to book a place.

UTC Sheffield, which recruits from South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire, has a waiting list for Year 12 places. Places are still available for Year 10 starting this September. Students who get in early and apply for a Year 10 place before March 31st will be guaranteed an ongoing place post 16.

Nick Crew, Principal, UTC Sheffield, said: “Our outreach work seeks to persuade girls that science, engineering and technology are not just for boys, and reflects national and regional moves to encourage a gender balance in these industries. The recruitment of female students into the UTC has been very pleasing with one third of 14 year-olds joining the UTC being girls.”

He added: “This has been helped by the employers supporting our curriculum, explaining the value of female employees in their companies, and the WISET team workshops, supported by female ambassadors from both universities and high profile women currently working in the sectors.”

Caitlin Mavura, a Year 10 student, said: “Engineering brings great opportunities for girls. I am planning for a career in civil engineering. The skills I am learning here will lead me into a job where I can travel internationally and build and create things, which is fantastic.”

Amina Saricicek, a Year 10 student, added: “One thing that is important is that you are really supported here at the UTC. You get the chance to meet employers and extra advantages like that. I wanted to do engineering because you solve problems in the world.”

Key facts

  • UTC Sheffield has been sponsored and led by The Sheffield College with Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry as co-sponsors. It is committed to widening opportunities for girls in sectors that have traditionally been male dominated.
  • UTC Sheffield has launched a film, Girls Making the Future, to promote career and study opportunities for young women. It features current and former female engineering students from across the city along with women who work as scientists, engineers or technologists. Go to: http://vimeo.com/111101620
  • UTC Sheffield works with groups such as WISET and WEST (Women in Science, Engineering and Technology) in Sheffield to raise awareness among parents and girls and challenge stereotypes, and highlight inspirational role models as well as the financial rewards these careers can offer.
  • UTCs teach one or more technical specialisms that meet the skills shortages in the region, training the next generation of Britain’s scientists, engineers and technicians. They offer a broad curriculum that combines an academic education with technical learning. Nationally, 30 university technical colleges have already launched and a total of 50 are due to open by 2016.

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