More than 70 young women from schools across Calderdale and Kirklees came together to celebrate women in Engineering and to hear about the wide range of careers in the sector.
Hosted at the college's new Engineering Centre in Brighouse, the Women in Engineering Day aimed to encourage wider participation in Engineering and to dispel any common myths about working in the industry.
ZThe event was attended by Year 11 female pupils from The Halifax Academy, North Huddersfield Trust, Netherhall Learning Campus, The North Halifax Grammar, All Saints Catholic College and The Calder High School.
Students heard from a panel of inspirational women from the sector, including business leaders from AW Hainsworth, Hargreaves, Factorylux, 3M BIC and Trust Electric Heating. They also participated in discussions about the current skills shortages and experienced a tour of the centre’s industry-standard facilities.
Amanda McLaren from AW Hainsworth, who was a guest speaker at the event, said: “Events like this are fantastic. I wish I was given such an opportunity when I was their age, for someone to speak to me and give me advice on my next steps. There are so many different roles and disciplines within Engineering, I just don’t think there’s enough exposure to what a career in this industry could offer.
“Having women in Engineering brings a different dynamic to the business. As an employer, we are constantly promoting diversity and ensuring a good representation within our teams, and I believe apprenticeships are a great way for those wanting to enter the sector.
“It’s a journey of growing up within a business, where you’re surrounded by people who want to support and mentor you, which I think is of a high value to anyone starting their career.”
Cordelia, a student at North Halifax Grammar School, commented on the event: “I never realised there were so many opportunities in Engineering, I thought it was more about Motor Vehicle and Electrical jobs. The speakers were so inspiring and I definitely see myself starting a career in the sector now - I didn’t consider it at all before attending this event.”
From technical to leadership roles, the opportunities within Engineering and Manufacturing are endless, and The Engineering Centre is on a mission to fill the skills gap within its local and surrounding communities.
When thinking about others in her community that are looking to study a degree at Calderdale College, Zakia added: “There’s no such thing as not being able to do something, give a degree a try!
Spencer Belson, The Engineering Centre Manager, said: “This is only the beginning of our work towards encouraging diversity within the sector. The event was a huge success and we’re hoping to continue to collaborate with our employer partners and invest more time in engaging with our local schools.
“It is our priority to help close the skills gaps and to deliver specialist training that will meet the needs of the industry, which is why we have been working closely with local businesses to design our curriculum."