Amey and Girlguiding set out to change perceptions and inspire new generation of women engineers

Brian Donnelly, Press Officer
22 June 2018
Girl guides in Amey PPE.
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  • Amey will co-sponsor Girlguiding’s new Innovate skills builder badges as part of the charity’s revolutionised programme launching this summer

Ahead of International Women in Engineering Day tomorrow (June, 23), Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women is proud to announce a partnership with engineering, consulting and infrastructure support services company Amey, to empower and encourage more girls and young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The three-year partnership comes after Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey results from the past three years show that more needs to be done to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM:

  • only 3% of girls aged 7-10 would consider a career in engineering (2015)
  • 52% of girls aged 11-21 think STEM subjects have an image of being more for boys (2016)
  • 20% of girls aged 11-21 think physics is more for boys and 29% think computing is more for boys (2017)

Reflecting the UK-wide picture, 11% of Amey employees with ‘engineer’ in their job title are women, and the company experiences a similar gender split across its graduate and apprenticeship programmes.

As part of its existing commitment to address this gender imbalance - which includes a 100-strong network of STEM Ambassadors - Amey will co-sponsor the charity’s new Innovate skills builder badges and activities. These have been designed with the company’s expert input to excite and empower girls to discover more about STEM.

The Innovate skills builder, one of 12 skills builders being launched this summer as part of the charity’s overhauled programme of badges and activities, has six stages spanning across all guiding sections from Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and on to Rangers reaching girls aged 5-18. Girls will be awarded a badge as they complete each of the six stages. 

Activities girls will have the opportunity to complete include carrying out scientific experiments, creating algorithms for robots, planning video games, learning about binary code through making computer science themed bracelets and having a go at being a crime scene investigator – to name a few.

 Jess Bond, Lead Volunteer for Girlguiding’s new programme, said: “Girls have told us they want more careers advice about what they can do with different subjects at school. It’s great to be able to offer girls this exciting insight to STEM subjects as part of our new programme of badges and activities. It’s really great to have expert input from Amey into the design of the activities that will be on offer to girls and to tackle the misconception that STEM subjects are more for boys.

 “We are confident the skills builders will provide a fantastic opportunity for girls to gain and build core skills throughout their guiding journey.” 

 Members of Girlguiding’s Olney Senior Section got a taster of the new Innovate skills builder during a visit to Amey’s Milton Keynes Waste Recovery Park (MKWRP) on Monday, ahead of International Women in Engineering Day. 

 Emily, 18, an Olney Senior Section member said: “I think it’s important for women to be seen and valued in science and technology. Most of my science teachers are men and I’m the only girl in my maths A-level class. From my experience boys seem to get more support from teachers in science, and whilst girls get support too, they often have to go out of their way to find it.

 “In Girlguiding you’re allowed to be yourself and that really helps girls to be able to get into STEM. It’s really exciting that the new Innovate skills builder will teach girls from a young age that STEM is there and it’s achievable.”

 The skills builders recognise the core skills girls develop through guiding – from survival skills and innovation to leadership and communication. Girls will build on these skills as they move through each section, helping to ensure continuity in their guiding.

Girlguiding estimate that over 150,000 girls will complete the Innovate skills builder every year.

Nicola Hindle, Amey’s Consulting and Rail MD, said: “Inspiring more girls to see a career using STEM subjects is a priority to us and we’re really excited to strengthen our existing commitment to addressing the industry’s gender imbalance through our partnership with Girlguiding. The charity is synonymous with teaching girls new skills in a safe and fun environment and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to use our vast expertise to design and support this ground-breaking new programme. We have high aspirations that our work with Girlguiding will result in a new generation of women leading the UK forward, innovating in STEM.”

Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for the Year of Engineering, said: “Girlguiding provides an excellent platform for girls to develop themselves to become confident young women who are able to reach their full potential. The Innovate skills builder badge is an excellent way of giving girls a flavour of how interesting and rewarding a career in STEM can be. Girls are often drawn to careers where they feel they can make a difference in improving and enriching others’ lives. In the Year of Engineering, I hope that it will inspire and encourage girls to take a closer look behind engineering, and STEM subjects more widely, so they can discover for themselves how by studying these subjects, they too can make a positive difference to society and the world around us.”

Girlguiding’s new programme will see the largest ever overhaul of what girls do in Girlguiding, marking the biggest investment in girls’ futures outside of the school system in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of girls will benefit from the revised programme that will equip them with all the skills and experiences they will need to thrive, succeed, make change and be happy in the modern world.

The new Girlguiding badges and activities will be organised around six themes, Skills for my Future, Have Adventures, Be Well, Know Myself, Express Myself and Take Action, expanding girls’ choices and equipping them with more skills and knowledge they can utilise now and in the future.

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