Ten girls in Years 8 and 9 at Futures Institute, Banbury, enjoyed an introduction to engineering thanks to green technology business, Fortescue recently.

The students, aged 12 – 14 were shown around the company’s newly acquired state-of-the-art test, research and engineering facility by Operations Analyst and Outreach Organiser, Rosalyn Brown as part of a programme designed to encourage women and girls to consider careers in STEM.

The Australia-based firm employs more than 120 people locally and is focused on the manufacture of heavy industry, electric zero-emission powertrain systems as well as automated battery module and pack assembly, power conversion and power systems. It is keen to develop relationships with local schools and educational institutions as it builds a workforce of skilled engineers, technicians, apprentices and graduates. The newly acquired Banbury facility will play a crucial role in expanding prototype, manufacturing and testing capability for green technology.

The youngsters enjoyed an interactive workshop in which they used Lego to construct a prototype of a wind turbine and a rescue vehicle before going on to learn about workplace safety and the essential role PPE plays in high voltage engineering . Some students were invited to try on protective garments before handling equipment.

A tour of the warehouse and the laboratory followed and the girls were able to view prototypes of new cutting-edge technology before they left clutching goody bags.

Dr Cat Pickup, Director of Project Based Learning at Futures, was pleased by the response of the girls to the day:
“We were delighted to be invited to share a day at Fortescue,” she said. “The firm is at the forefront of green technology in the UK and the girls were totally engaged by the activities. Futures Institute is a STEM focused school and we are always looking for opportunities to develop our students’ employability skills. Women continue to be outnumbered by men in the world of engineering so it was particularly rewarding to see an opportunity exclusively designed for girls. I know this will have had a lasting impact on the students who took part.”

Year 8 student Lucy Bowles, agreed the day had been eye-opening:
“The trip was really interesting and fun. I liked that it was interactive and it gave me a new job idea. ”
Her schoolmate, Ella-May Davidson added, “It’s made me realise that engineering is not just about creating, it is also about teamwork!”

Following the success of the event there are plans for further visits by Futures students to the Fortescue facility with reciprocal visits from the firm’s STEM ambassadors.

Read this story on the Banbury Guardian.

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