UTC students take part in national STEM competition to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day

Twelve Year 10 students from UTC Sheffield attended an engineering competition hosted by Amey ahead of International Women in Engineering Day.

Amey are a leading supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services both in the UK and internationally. Their many different areas include engineering, facilities management, utilities, transport, environmental services, defence and justice.

The event was created to inspire girls from underprivileged areas into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers and show how many different roles are available within the technology and engineering sectors.

The UTC students spent the day at Amey’s Sheffield offices, along with students from Oakwood Academy, working with a wide range of people within the business, many of whom were female.

After an introduction to the day, the students were presented with an engineering project to develop in teams. They were tasked with turning Junction 13-15 of the M1 into a smart motorway.

The girls had to split themselves into two teams of six, which then became three pairs working on different tasks to complete the overall project. Each pair had a different focus: management, technicalities, or highways, and they were provided with a pack of information that they could use to help find a solution. The girls had to work out how to solve planning problems for pavements, cameras, environmental issues, noise issues and signage. Once this was all decided, they then had to cost the project and work out a timescale for delivery.

In the afternoon session, the girls had to prepare and pitch their ideas to a Sheffield councillor in charge of highways, Richard from Highways England who manages the M1 from Sheffield to Scotland, and two representatives from Amey who gave constructed feedback on the plans, asking the teams questions about their ideas and methods.

Letisha said: “The girls were outstanding on the day and provided a very thorough response to the project in the short timescale. They presented themselves professionally and learned a lot about the civil engineering sector and the roles they could work in. Two of our students have secured a work placement as a result of this visit. I am very proud of their achievements today, as it is very difficult to stand up in front of leading businesspeople and present their ideas and they’ve developed valuable life skills.”

Richard, from Highways England, said: “It’s been really inspiring to see so many young schoolgirls tackling tricky problems in a matter of hours. They’ve planned, designed, costed and project managed an improvement scheme and it’s fantastic. Some of the ideas they came out with were excellent and the style when they presented their projects was tremendous. It’s great to see so many young girls taking an interest in what is a heavily male dominated industry.”

Lisa Ingram, Head of Business Improvement at Amey, started and developed the Challenge Cup after seeing the lack of aspiration, opportunities and female role models during a visit to her daughter’s school. She said: “These experiences give girls from deprived areas access to professional female role models they wouldn’t normally engage with. We have a social responsibility to build hopes and aspirations for the communities we work in, and Amey encourages its staff to get involved in enabling young people, especially girls, to take part in the cutting-edge industries we work in.”

Get updated

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news from the UTC