Three women from Ingleton Wood have become STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors for a pioneering new initiative to boost interest among primary school pupils and empower women in STEM.
We’ve joined forces with Alexandra Knight, a Chartered Engineer and Founder of StemazingKids CIC, who has launched the Stemazing Inspiration Academy to create a more diverse STEM workforce and improve how the sector tackles future challenges.
Latest figures show only 24% women make up the STEM workforce. Stemazing’s mission is to ‘empower women in STEM to shine and inspire young people to become our next generation of innovators and problem-solvers’.
The ambassadors receive training and then deliver a series of 6 online STEM sessions designed for seven- to nine-year-olds into Primary Schools around the country each week for 6 weeks where they run the step-by-step live demonstrations to help the children to create their own ‘STEM masterpieces’.
Lily Green is one of our three ambassadors to join the four-month scheme. Lily, one of the first in the country to achieve a Level 7 Architect Apprenticeship, wants to be part of mobilising women and children into STEM careers.
The 27-year-old said: “I was lucky that my parents always supported my career goals but I was very aware there weren’t any visible female role models in my career path to become an architect. Women are generally underrepresented in STEM roles and I’m proud to be part of the movement to achieve more diversity.”
A STEMazing survey of female 13-18 year olds found the main reason for not pursuing a career in STEM was due to not ‘seeing’ enough women in related industries as role models. The research emphasised a misconception that STEM roles were ‘for the boys’.
Zoe Sparks is a recently qualified Structural Engineer with a Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering. She found that while most of her mentors growing up were men, the few female mentors were “very encouraging and championed diversity in the industry”.
The 25-year-old added: “I want young people to understand that it doesn’t matter what gender you are, you can always achieve what you want, especially if you find the right level of support and encouragement from a forward-looking employer like Ingleton Wood.”
Rebecca Howard, a Senior Planner and member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, explained how she received very little careers advice and wanted the opportunity to encourage young pupils to pursue a career in STEM.
She said: “As an ambassador for the STEMazing Inspiration Academy, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it and encourage and motivate the children. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded females who are ambassadors for the same reason.”
The ambassadors are already on their way to delivering their online sessions. On the “confidence-building” courses, Zoe added: “It is a bit daunting to put myself in these positions of self-reflection and getting out of my comfort zone, but I’ve really enjoyed the progression so far and can see how it’s preparing me to deliver my own online classes.”
Alexandra Knight[MS2] , who launched STEMazing in 2020 and hopes it becomes a recognised national platform, said: “Our work supports women in STEM to shine as visible role models, excel at public engagement and change outdated perceptions. I would like to thank Ingleton Wood for their fantastic support – we can’t wait to see the impact their ambassadors make.”
Laura Mansel-Thomas, Senior Partner, said: “We are delighted to be supporting such an important new initiative to improve STEM workforce diversity and inspire the next generation of STEM superstars. We’re giving Lily, Zoe and Rebecca all the support and encouragement they need to make a significant and long-lasting contribution.”
For anyone interested in opportunities at Ingleton Wood or to speak to someone about working in construction, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoe Sparks, a recently qualified Structural Engineer, works from Ingleton Wood’s London office.
Qualified architect, Lily Green, who began working at Ingleton Wood in 2018 through an apprenticeship scheme.
Rebecca Howard is a Senior Planner at Ingleton Wood’s Colchester office and is MRTPI qualified.
Alexandra Knight, founder and CEO of STEMazing, is an award-winning engineer, presenter and diversity advocate.