The Challenge Cup event brings girls aged 13-15 into our workplaces to work with engineers for a day to solve a real-life engineering problem. It looks at all aspects of an engineering project including planning, budgeting and managing risk, and culminates with teams presenting to a judging panal. It was designed to show how many different roles are available within the technology and engineering sectors, as well as influence underprivileged and working class school girls to break the status quo and consider alternative careers.
Why do we support the Challenge Cup?
Only 23% of the STEM workforce in the UK is female. As a major engineering company, Amey is very keen to improve gender diversity in the industry.
It is at age 14-16 that children start loosing interest in engineering careers, so we want to get there in time to inspire the next generation of engineers. While girls continue to study STEM subjects at school just as much as boys (representing 48% of the total STEM entries at GCSE), there is an ongoing imbalance when it comes to undergraduate degrees and jobs in STEM industries. Only 16% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female and the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe - around 11%.
When did the Challenge Cup start?
It was initially created as careers involvement day by Birmingham-based Amey staff, but the competition has grown to include a number of schools throughout the UK:
- 2015 – a single school competing in teams in a series of short challenges introduced and judged by a variety of females working in roles across the business.
- 2016 – an “Apprentice” style engineering challenge involving four schools and judged by senior leaders from within Amey and client organisations.
- 2018 – expanded to cover the Midlands regional event compromising of 3 local heats and a regional final.
- 2019 – reached 200 girls across the country from Scotland to London and from Belfast to Milton Keynes which was the first event in the Waste Treatment business
What does the Challenge Cup involve?
During the day groups of 6 girls compete in activities that mimic a real-world engineering project. The day follows:
- a brief from a client
- preparing a preliminary design,
- building the model
- final design and cost
- delivering a presentation
Inspiring mentors from our team are there to guide and support the girls throughout the day.
- 2020 Challenge Cup preparation started in Q1 2020, with events scheduled for May/June 2020 - due to COVID-19 the 2020 Challenge Cup has been postponed to later on in the year.
- If you'd like to get involved or want more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
At last year’s event in Birmingham, Grace from winning team Clayton Hall Academy said: “We’re all really enjoying it. It’s quite a challenge but that’s what makes it enjoyable. It’s coming along quite well with good team work.” Her team mate, Alice, added “We’re both taking engineering GCSEs so it’s quite enjoyable. It’s challenging but fun.”
Lisa Ingram, Head of Business Improvement at Amey, started and developed the Challenge Cup after seeing the lack of aspiration, opportunities and female role models during a visit to her daughter's school. She said "We're realty excited to launch The Challenge Cup across the UK in 2019. It gives girls from deprived areas access to professional female role models they wouldn't normally engage with. We have a social responsibility to build hopes and aspirations for the communities we work in, and Amey encourages its staff to get involved in enabling young people especially girls, to take part in the cutting-edge industries we work in."
Assistant Head of Highways at Sheffield City Council, Richard Bulloss, said "It was a real pleasure to have been involved in this event and see some of the fantastic concepts that the girls came up with. There was a real appetite for the task at hand and I hope that the challenge will spur the girls on to explore the many options available to them in the evolving world of engineering. The winning team form Outwood Academy impressed the judges with their willingness to challenge some of the traditional ways of thinking in civil engineering and the teamwork approach to solving the problem".