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STEM ambassador and Young Engineers Trustee Ruth Amos inspired students in recognising the number of career opportunities in science and engineering when she visited Trent College Sixth Form.
After designing the ‘StairSteady’, an aid to enable people with limited mobility to use stairs confidently and safely, as part of her GCSE Resistant Materials Course, Ms Amos was named Young Engineer for Britain 2006 aged 16 for her design.
Now 25, Ms Amos, who in 2009 was the youngest person ever to be on Management Today’s 35 women under 35 list and was the first ever Women of the Future ‘Young Star’ award winner, remains passionate about education and works on projects to help promote enterprise in school.
She passed on this passion as she addressed students and took part in a Q&A as part of Trent College’s Arts and Speakers Programme, which welcomes inspirational visitors from a wide variety of disciplines and is designed to help students embrace the academic and non-academic challenges of school, university and life beyond.
Amongst those attending the talk were Sixth Form science students, Pheobe Badcock and Rosie Prior. According to Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), women make up just 14.4% of the STEM workforce - around 1 in 7 – and the girls were especially interested in what Ms Amos had to say.
Rosie said: “I did my work experience at a civil and chemical engineering company and was pleasantly surprised to find that actually just as many women worked there as men. Careers such as engineering have always been seen as ‘male roles’ and I think this is finally changing.
"Some female students may be put off by these careers but meeting women like Ruth Amos shows that as long as we enjoy what we’re doing and we work hard at it, we can be just as successful as men it these jobs.”
Phoebe added: “I like meeting inspirational women in engineering as it helps me to understand what I need to do, or can do, to get to the position they are in and that I want to be in. It helps me work out the biggest obstacles I will have to overcome in choosing this career path and what I can do now to make it easier to get into.
“The opportunities for women in STEM careers are increasing as more are getting involved even though it is still male-dominated. But, women are almost getting an advantage now, as people seem to want more women in these areas.”