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Engineering inspiration day - Hull

Balloon rocket races, marshmallow and straw structures  and perfecting team work with the help of colourful Lego towers were part of bp Hull’s STEM inspiration day, which saw more than 60 nine to eleven-year-old girls from across the region get involved in an exciting hands-on event

Held in conjunction with Hull & East Yorkshire (HEY) Children’s University and the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), the  girls from three local primary schools took part in a fact-filled, energetic and educational day hosted by our own employees, aimed at encouraging young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).


Our event started with a creative ‘draw an engineer or scientist’ activity, resulting in some fantastic pictures, and then the kids took part in three workshops.


The forces and motion workshop helped the children understand how forces, in the form of thrusts and air resistance, affect the motion of a balloon rocket and how air resistance can be managed by designing a streamlined nose cone. Structural engineering skills were the topic for our ex’straw’dinary engineering session, using marshmallows and straws to build an oil rig structure, and in our Lego towers session, the girls were challenged to take on different team roles and work together to build a tall tower; developing team work and communication skills.


We finished the day with an ex’straw’dinary structural competition, seeing the winning team’s creation hold an incredible 1.3kg of weight and as a result, win a drone for their school.

Hull’s Year of Engineering day was one of five held this year, as part of bp’s support for the UK Government led 2018 Year of Engineering campaign, working alongside industry partners to offer young people a positive experience of engineering to help tackle the engineering skills gap in the UK.


The Hull event focused on highlighting STEM subjects to girls, to help encourage more females into engineering. According to the Women’s Engineering Society, in the UK, women account for only 9% of the professional engineering workforce – this representation is far lower than the European average. One of bp in Hull’s business priorities is to encourage more girls to take up careers in STEM subjects and see bp as an employer of the future for them.

“At bp in Hull we believe it is important to work with young people to help them recognise the exciting STEM careers available to them. We know we need to work hard to encourage more girls to look at engineering as a future career, so our STEM inspiration day was a really wonderful way of helping these children from our local area meet our engineers and work with them to learn, experience and discover more about the world of science and engineering. Ellie Westwood, bp Hull communications and engagement advisor


“During the day, we had lots of positive comments from the children, with many of them telling us they wanted to become scientists and engineers, so we hope that events like this can really help to open their eyes to the careers companies like ours can provide them with.


“ This was a brilliant opportunity to work with HEY Children’s University and Ron Dearing UTC to engage with children who not only may not be aware of the opportunities on their doorstep for future jobs, but also for where they can study.”


HEY Children’s University works with children from disadvantaged backgrounds across the region to deliver experiences and events to raise their aspirations, self-esteem, confidence and opportunities which are on offer to them.


Natasha Barley, director, said: “Our charity is proud to be working with bp to raise the aspirations of girls from disadvantaged communities in Hull and the East Riding. We hope that events like this one encourage the girls taking part to be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Opportunities like this can change a child’s future as there are so many STEM related careers they can aspire to.”


Ron Dearing UTC, which, backed by Hull University and the region’s leading employers, provides young people with an employer-driven academic, technical and vocational education. Students can join the UTC in year 10 (age 14) and year 12 (age 16). The event was held at Ron Dearing UTC, providing the school children with the opportunity to also see where they could aspire to study.  


Mark Ollerenshaw, vice principal at Ron Dearing UTC, said: "Ron Dearing UTC has a formidable relationship with both HEY Children's University and bp.


“We are delighted to have been part of bp’s Year of Engineering STEM day. Our relationship with bp not only provides opportunities like this event, but gives students at Ron Dearing invaluable work experience, expert careers advice and guidance and support with our curriculum, too.


“As an employer-led STEM school we, along with our industry partners, are passionate about inspiring women to pursue careers in STEM subjects, and we are pleased to have worked alongside bp and HEY Children's University to host an event to inspire the next generation of female engineers, scientists and digital technology experts."

This is engineering | 2018 The Year of Engineering