Girls listening during their tour around the water treatment works

Local schoolgirls from four schools in Northamptonshire had the opportunity to see engineering in action on national Women In Engineering Day earlier this week (Monday 23 June).

Anglian Water opened the gates to its water treatment works at Pitsford to offer the pupils a special tour and experience day to encourage more females to get into engineering, and to celebrate the achievements of women working currently in the field.

Fifty-four girls, aged 9 to 12 years old, got the opportunity to tour the Water Treatment Works at Pitsford and talk to female engineers from Anglian Water about what the job involves. The pupils also learned more about the water industry and challenge of supplying billions of litres of water to millions of customers every day by playing a Water Supply Challenge game.

Amber Claughton, a female engineer who joined Anglian Water on its Graduate Scheme and spoke to the young Northampton pupils about becoming an engineer, said: “I got into engineering because I have always been interested in how things work and how they are put together. I was fortunate to have a great role model in my maths teacher at secondary school who encouraged me and made me realise early on what a great choice of career engineering would be.

“I think it’s essential that girls have a range of role models to help them see the breadth of careers available to them and to understand how rewarding they can be. It’s great that I’m now able to get involved with events like this to help inspire the future generation of female engineers.

“I hope that by speaking to some of the girls today I will have helped them understand what engineering actually is and that it crosses over into lots of different areas they may be interested in already. Hopefully I’ve managed to inspire the budding female engineer within them so that they work hard in the various subjects that will start them on the path to a great career.”

  • Only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female
  • Females make up just 27% of engineering and science technicians, too
  • The UK needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand for the industry
  • In 2012 nearly 4 out of 5 of those who took A level physics were male
  • Only half (51%) of female science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates actually go on to work in STEM roles, compared with over two thirds (68%) of male STEM graduates
  • In 2011, men were awarded 85% of engineering and technology degrees and 82% of computer science degrees
  • In the same year, 83% medical degrees and 79% of veterinary science degrees went to women.

Hear from some of our female engineers on National Women in Engineering Day, a day designed celebrate the work that women do in engineering, and to showcase the great engineering careers that are available for girls.