The trip was organised as part of National Women in Engineering Day, 23 June, which aims to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and encourage more girls to consider a career in the industry.
The S3 pupils – from Cumnock Academy, Loudoun Academy, and St. Joseph’s Academy – took part in activities across the Construction & Trade, Engineering & Science, Automotive Vehicles, and Computing departments at the Kilmarnock campus.
Ayrshire College had their lecturers and current female apprentices on hand to talk the groups through the various demonstrations and explain why engineering could be the right career path to go down.
A number of the pupils said after the event that the workshops had been a real eye-opener and they were now going to seriously think about a career in engineering.
Hannah Greer from Cumnock Academy said “Girls can do engineering jobs as well as boys – that’s what I’ve taken from this. I’d actually think more about going down this route after today.”
Aeronautical engineer apprentice at Ayrshire College, Kirsty Harvey, said “I feel that now’s a great time for girls to get into engineering. It’s a fantastic opportunity, we just need to make sure people realise what it actually is and get rid of the mind-set that it’s a man’s job.”
Martin Hendry, STEM co-ordinator for East Ayrshire Council said “What we’re trying to do is raise the whole profile within the STEM subjects for young people. This event is aimed specifically at girls that are going to be leaving school in the next few years and encouraging them to look at different career opportunities and think ‘I can’, rather than ‘what can I do?’.
“We have a massive shortage of engineers in the next ten years, it’s in the region of 30-40,000 engineers short in Scotland. So we are hoping to inspire these young people to think about choosing science and maths subjects at school and start preparing for an exciting and rewarding career in the STEM sector.”
Marla Baird, Equality and Inclusion Manager at Ayrshire College, said “Today’s really important because we know females are underrepresented in the STEM areas. It’s about showing the young women that there’s a whole range of careers within the STEM sector. It’s to make them think a bit wider about what their career choice is going to be.”