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Vickerstock teams up with Belfast Harbour and Science Starz to promote STEM subjects to girls

17.12.18 · Engineering News


Warren and Leah from Vickertock give the girls advice on picking the best felt tip pen and how to become an astronaut 

There is a significant gender gap which needs to be addressed within engineering professions and also within the higher level study of STEM subjects.

For example 49% of Physics GCSE pupils are girls, but only 20% of Physics A-Level pupils are girls and only 14% of engineering graduates are women.*

Once we get as far as the engineering workplace only 11% is female.**

A big problem is that the number of young women studying engineering and physics has remained virtually static since 2012** and so we were delighted to find out that Belfast Harbour were hosting 4 local primary school classes to attend a STEM focused morning at their office.

The purpose of the morning was to engage with the girls through STEM related activites and hopefully inspire them to take up STEM subjects and careers in the future. The event was aimed primarily at female pupils aged 9-11 from Mercy PS, Lough View integrated, Bunscoil Phobal Feirste and Fane Street PS, and was organised by Science Starz - a female led social enterprise which creates a fun, interactive environments for children to learn about and experience science.

Science Starz ran engageing workshops covering a range of interactive experiments

Farrans Construction and Ulster Wildlife atteded the event and had great stands explaining how to find electrical wiring and build bat boxes, although unfortunatly there were no hedgehogs to pet - to the great dissapointment of the Vickerstock staff.

As Vickerstock sponsor Queen's Formula Racing, we invited some of the female students from the team to come along with the racing car in the hope that this would spark some interest in the children - it worked!

Queen's Formula Racing students take questions from local primary school pupils

The children were fascinated with the car and kept the Queen's students busy with lots of questions about how fast the car went, what it was made of and how long it took to build.  

We also ran a colouring-in competition which taught the chidren about a variety of potential STEM careers from automotive engineers to astronauts, while also crafting that most important engineering talent - the skill of drawing.  

We had a few Da Vincis in the group and judging was tough, but eventually we got down to the winning 3 who won a range of  educational STEM toys (which we had great fun shopping for!). W5 Belfast also kindly donated a family pass ticket to the overall winner.

Darren McVicker, Director of Vickerstock, said: "Vickerstock is delighted to have had the opportunity to work alongside Belfast Harbour and Science Starz to promote STEM to a new generation of potential engineers.  It is essential that as a recruitment agency we continually look to the future of the industries we recruit for and provide as much help and support to the young people coming through as possible. 

Our ongoing relationship with the Queen’s Formula Racing team has been extremely successful and rewarding and we would like to thank the engineering students for bringing the race car with them and answering questions from the primary school pupils.” 


*Stats from eye4education.co.uk Women in STEM

**Stats from wes.org.uk Women in Engineering

Competition winners with QFR students, Hugh from Vickerstock
and Elita from Science Starz

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