The event gave S1 and S2 pupils from Cumnock Academy, Girvan Academy, Grange Academy, Kilmarnock Academy, Kyle Academy, Largs Academy, Loudoun Academy and Stewarton Academy the chance to rotate around three different workshops each.
Workshops were held in brickwork, carpentry and joinery, civil engineering, construction management, electrical engineering, land surveying, painting and decorating, plumbing, and quantity surveying. Survey Connection, Rowan Timber and Dekors all kindly donated materials for the workshops.
Before the pupils broke off into their groups, they heard from a number of inspirational women currently working in construction and civil engineering and learnt why more females are needed in the industry.
The first speaker was Laura Love, project manager at Ashleigh Building, who spoke to the group about there being many different pathways into construction.
Then Jill Fisher, electrical engineering lecturer at Ayrshire College, told the group about some of the projects she’s been involved in throughout Europe, USA and Australia.
Janice Steel – in her final day as capital projects manager at Ayrshire College before she departs to the University of the West of Scotland – talked about the ambitious targets she set herself at school, and how she set about achieving them.
Claire Hyslop then spoke about her exciting civil engineering role, which has seen her work on major infrastructure projects in South Korea and Australia and Hannah Simpson, graduate engineer at GRAHAM Group, told the pupils why she felt the construction industry was right for her.
Exhibitor stands were set up for the pupils to ask questions and gather more information on the careers and courses available to them from the likes of: Ashleigh Building, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Construction Industry Training Board, CCG Construction and Manufacturing Group, Hub South West Scotland, Kier Construction, Morrison Construction, the Royal Institution of Architects in Scotland, the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust, and Survey Connection.
Twelve-year-old Dawn, from Kyle Academy said: “I’ve really enjoyed the range of activities we took part in today. Beforehand I didn’t really think too much about studying towards a STEM career, because I didn’t know there were as many options out there.
“But after the talks I’ve realised there’s a lot more STEM jobs available than most people think.”
Cameron Bell, head of Construction Technology & Trades at Ayrshire College, organised the event. He said: “There are plenty of exciting learning and career opportunities available in the Construction and Civil Engineering areas, and it is especially important for us as a college to showcase these opportunities to female pupils who may not have considered entering this industry.
“By trying out some fun practical activities and hearing from a number of impressive and inspiring women who have carved out great careers in Construction and Civil Engineering, hopefully today’s event has inspired the pupils to think about a career in Construction or Civil Engineering that they can now work towards.”
Debbie Rutherford, regional community benefit advisor at GRAHAM, said: “As a company, we believe it is vital that all young people, no matter their gender, are educated on the various routes of employment available to them, and receive encouragement and support along the way.
“Our female STEM Ambassadors are all fantastic examples of women who are succeeding in their careers in construction, and dispel any false perceptions of construction as a male-only sector.
“We hope to see some of the young students who attended Ayrshire College’s event pursuing careers in construction in the future.”