24 Jan 2022
Department launches a new access programme for girls
Uncover Engineering is a new residential access programme at Oxford offering girls aged 14-15 the chance to learn about engineering, supported by the Waste Environmental Education Research Trust
The Uncover Engineering programme will give participants the opportunity to discover what a career in engineering could be like and explore the skills useful to engineers through hands-on workshops and lectures. The free programme will cover core engineering topics while also exploring more specific areas of research, encouraging students to think beyond engineering as a subject and look at the world with greater curiosity.
The engineering industry faces a significant skills shortage, particularly among women and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Uncover Engineering is just one of a range of access initiatives run by the department to combat the underrepresentation of female students in the field, and to encourage and support those from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds to consider engineering as a future career path.
"It’s crucial that engineering as a profession reflects the diversity of the world around us and benefits from different perspectives, creativity and insights"
Secondary school students pick their A Level subjects in Year 11, with male students far more likely to choose the subjects required for engineering – including maths and physics. By targeting female students in Year 10, Uncover Engineering will enable participants to make an informed decision about their future studies.
Professor Ron Roy, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, says: "It’s crucial that engineering as a profession reflects the diversity of the world around us and benefits from different perspectives, creativity and insights. We are delighted to launch Uncover Engineering with the support of the Waste Environmental Education Research Trust (WEERT). Residential programmes such as Uncover Engineering and the other access initiatives we offer are a key part of our effort to encourage young female students to consider engineering as a career, learn what attributes a successful engineer needs, and to study the subjects required to apply for a university degree in engineering."
"The support of industry and partners such as WEERT is essential in helping us address the under-representation of girls and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in engineering higher education and the sector as a whole.”
As well as attending academic sessions, Uncover Engineering participants will be encouraged to start thinking about their future in higher education and beyond to possible careers by taking part in enrichment activities, such as talking to engineering alumni about their working lives. They will also be taken on a visit to a waste management facility, where they will be able to see some practical applications of engineering and learn about the day-to-day life of an engineer.
"The support of industry and partners such as WEERT is essential in helping us address the under-representation of girls and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds"
Neil Grundon, WEERT Trustee and Deputy Chairman of Grundon Waste Management, says: "The trust is pleased to support the Uncover Engineering programme. We are particularly supportive of its focus on trying to encourage girls to consider engineering as a potential career choice before they have to choose which subjects to study at A Level. We also welcome the inclusion of waste management facilities on the visit schedule for the school pupils during their time with the Department of Engineering Science."
Uncover Engineering will take place in April 2022.