S2 girls from Scottish secondary schools were welcomed to the University as part of a Discovering Engineering programme.

The Young WEIR-WISE initiative, a partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and The Weir Group, is designed to inspire young female students to discover the excitement and personal satisfaction behind a career in engineering.

After two years hosting the outreach programme virtually, the initiative was held in person on campus, with 150 participants from 89 schools from across Scotland. The attendees were split into two groups, who each spent two days at Strathclyde.

Practical activities

Staff from The Weir Group gave an insight into studying and working in the field of engineering, and the pupils took part in a series of practical activities developed by a number of departments in the Faculty, including creating nano polymer bouncy balls, and building their own moveable hand.

Evidence shows that there is poor gender balance within many engineering degree courses in the UK, with females making up a small percentage of the total intake in some. Many see science and engineering subjects as being male orientated and ‘not for them’.

The Young WEIR-WISE programme aims to inspire participants to become the next generation of engineers, with pupils also learning about appropriate National 5 subject choices which feed into the various engineering streams. If pupils don’t select physics in their National 5 subject choices when in S2, it can prove difficult to gain the required qualifications to apply for an Engineering Degree.

Career choice

The programme marked the first Faculty campus programme in three years, and Professor Stephen McArthur, Executive Dean of Engineering and Associate Principal of Strathclyde, said: “At Strathclyde we’re committed to encouraging more girls to consider engineering as a career choice.

”We’re delighted to welcome our first cohort of outreach participants back to our campus, to discover more about the opportunities available in engineering.

“We look forward to welcoming more pupils, and potential future engineers, to join us on campus in June for our Engineering the Future for Girls and Scottish Space School outreach programmes.”

Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer at The Weir Group, Paula Cousins said: “As an engineer and a parent of two teenage daughters I’m particularly passionate about the Weir Wise programme – bringing to life what engineering looks and feels like and making it accessible to young female students from all backgrounds.”