We all have women in our lives who inspire us. At Spirax-Sarco Engineering, it’s the people we work with every day.
On Friday 22nd June, we gathered at our Runnings Road facility in Cheltenham to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day. This is a global awareness campaign designed to raise the profile of women in engineering, while also encouraging the next generation to consider a career in STEM. This year’s theme - #RaisingTheBar – looked at celebrating the exceptional strides women have made in engineering, and how these are shaping the world around us.
Alongside local businesses, schools and charitable organisations, we spent the day honouring the past, present and future of women in STEM. Our aim: to demonstrate why diversity in gender, age, culture, experience and expertise will build a stronger workforce.
Look back at how science and engineering has evolved over the years, and you’ll see many figures who still inspire us today. From Marie Curie to Rosalind Franklin, women have paved the way in new scientific discoveries for decades. To honour the past, we brought along a working steam traction engine to our Runnings Road facility. We wanted to demonstrate how steam has evolved, while celebrating the centuries’ old innovations that still have an impact on the way we live today. Belonging to David Oliver, our Research Test Engineer, the 106-year-old engine last made a public appearance at the sounding of the Holloway Whistle in April 2017.
To honour the progress made by women in engineering today, we welcomed a number of representatives from Spirax Sarco Engineering and the local business community, all of whom have established themselves as prominent voices in modern engineering. Together, we conducted a fascinating discussion on how the industry must continue to break down stereotypes, increase diversity and engage the next generation of engineers.
Events like INWED help to remind us of the importance of inspiring the next generation to consider a career in STEM, regardless of background, gender or race. Working in collaboration with Cheltenham Science Group, an organisation that plays a key role in opening up STEM to the engineers of tomorrow, we welcomed around 50 pupils from four local secondary schools to take part in a range of hands-on activities. Not only that, but the day itself was organised and led by our year-in-industry students and apprentices – the next generation to take this industry onwards and upwards.
Are there still challenges to overcome? Of course. That’s why the lessons of INWED need to be embodied in everything we do. As inventor Tim Berners-Lee once said: “We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” This is as true today as it ever was.
Caroline Ellis, Group Recruitment Manager, Spirax Sarco Engineering.
How are you #RaisingTheBar? Get in touch and let us know
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