School girls taking part in the water supply challenge

Local school girls from six schools in Cambridgeshire had the opportunity to get hands on with engineering and meet Anglian Water’s engineers in a two day event in St. Ives. 

More than two hundred girls aged 11 to 16 years old from St Ives, Ramsey, Huntingdon and St Neots had the opportunity to discover what it’s like to be an engineer by quizzing Anglian Water engineers on their day jobs and experiences at the company. They also learnt more about the water industry and the challenge of supplying billions of litres of water to millions of households everyday by taking part in the Water Supply Challenge, built their own water tower and beat the engineers in a Lego construction competition.

Marcia Davies, from Anglian Water’s education team, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response today from these young women. They have really had to think about the massive technical challenges of bringing water to millions of our region’s homes and businesses.

“We are relying on a new generation of motivated, passionate and well trained engineers coming forward to ensure we can continue to provide world class water and sewage services to our customers.

“Sadly it’s still the case that women are a minority in our engineering teams – but we want to do what we can now to change that. That’s exactly why we are so keen to get in involved in this fantastic initiative – I hope that we have inspired some young minds today to want to find out more about pursuing this worthwhile and exciting career.”

Only six per cent of the UK’s engineering workforce is female. 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.

Anglian Water has a strong recruitment and apprenticeship programme for engineers. Experts estimate the UK needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand for the industry.

• 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