Reliance Celebrate International Women in Engineering Day

Jul 13, 2017

Reliance celebrated International Women in Engineering Day by hosting an event for female students and teachers from local Honley High School, providing them with an insight into engineering and the different career opportunities available.

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is an annual awareness campaign which takes place on 23rd June each year. Reliance’s event this year was once again organised by Hannah England. Hannah, a Mechanical Engineer, successfully completed the Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme at Reliance seven years ago. She comments “Celebrating INWED is a great opportunity to get students to visit the company and see what engineering is really like. As a STEM ambassador I volunteer for various events in schools to help encourage young people to consider engineering as a career. When I was at school engineering wasn’t necessarily a career girls considered, but with the encouragement of a particular teacher I decided to explore it as a potential career. If by running the INWED event I can encourage just one student to do the same, then the planning and work involved in organising the day is well worth it.”

Seventeen Year 8 girls attended the event. The day started with an introduction to engineering, before a number of Reliance’s female employees explained their roles within the business and their respective career paths to get there. The girls were then taken on a factory tour to see the manufacturing operation first hand, and witness some of the latest technology.

The day concluded with the girls being set an engineering challenge in small groups. From the same set of core materials provided, each group had to build a ‘lander’ vessel to protect an egg being dropped from a 4 m height. The resulting solutions were all very different in design, and all successfully withstood the drop from the mezzanine balcony, with their eggs remaining intact.

The students attending agreed it had been an interesting day, with many saying Reliance was completely different to the perceptions they had of an engineering company. A couple of girls admitted it had made them seriously think about a career in engineering. Another explained she wanted to come along to find out more because her sister was one of this year’s successful applicants to the Apprenticeship Scheme, due to start in August.

Krystyna Tipple, a C&K Careers Advisor at Honley High School, attended the event with the students. She explains “Events like this are great to give the students exposure to a real life working environment. They get the opportunity to see all the different roles that go into making a business, and this insight can give them a focus of something to work towards. It also highlights the link between science and engineering, and the different opportunities that are available with a science qualification.” She was particularly impressed with the girls’ performances in the engineering challenge, adding “It was great to see how well the girls worked in their teams. Activities like this really help build their confidence and demonstrate the importance of teamwork.”

Reliance believes it is important to get involved with events such as INWED, and actively encourages its employees to organise events related to their work. It’s particularly keen on those designed to inspire the next generation, and as an organisation continually striving to attract the best candidates to their long standing Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme, developing relationships with local schools and colleges is important.

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