College inspires budding female engineers

Apprentices and students at a North East college are inspiring the next generation of female engineers, architects, digital creatives and software experts through interactive workshops.

Gateshead College teamed up with four primary schools from across the region – Bede Community, Brighton Avenue and Lingey House in Gateshead and Bournmoor in Houghton-le-Spring – to invite their pupils to a day of fun-filled activities.

The event included sessions on architectural engineering, automotive engineering, computer programming and games design which were delivered by college teachers supported by current students and apprentices.

Gateshead College’s automotive teacher Katy Malia led a work shop which taught the children how to build a fuel cell car that runs on salt water. The aim was to encourage the pupils to think about the process involved in designing, building and powering a vehicle, including the application of alternative fuel forms.

Other industry professionals were also on hand to answer questions and offer careers education and guidance.

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College, said: “We want to inspire girls to think about careers that they may not have considered previously. In the engineering and software sectors, for example, females make up a low proportion of the overall workforce but we’re educating girls that they can go into these industries and enjoy a rewarding career.

“We want to get this message across to children at a young age so that they are better informed when making career choices in their teenage years.

“Our female teachers, students and apprentices are great role models for the pupils and we’ll continue to work with schools to offer careers guidance and advice.”

The day was held to mark the college’s success at the national Beacon Awards. Gateshead College won the Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Careers Education and Guidance at the annual event, which is run by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and celebrates the best and most innovative practices in FE.