New partnership to inspire young women into civil engineering

ICE Northern Ireland has partnered with Girlguiding Ulster in support of International Women’s Day and ICE 200.

Guides, Brownies, Rainbows with sponsors: inspiring engineering activities
Guides, Brownies, Rainbows with sponsors: inspiring engineering activities

In honour of International Women’s Day and ICE 200, ICE has launched a partnership with Girlguiding Ulster to enable girls to explore the world of civil engineering.

Supported by sponsors Arup, Doran Consulting, GRAHAM, and Ulster University, ICE has produced activity packs and civil engineering badges for all Girlguiding units across Northern Ireland.

The packs include fun, educational engineering activities for all levels of Girlguiding – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and the Senior Section. ICE Fellow Pippa Higgins developed the activities and badges for the packs.

ICE Northern Ireland’s female members will also be sharing their passion for civil engineering by visiting units to speak about their experiences.

“This partnership is all about inspiring young women and girls,” says Girlguiding Ulster Chief Commissioner Brenda Herron. “By introducing the units to real female civil engineers we want girls to visualise themselves working in these sectors – having female role models is crucial to achieving that.”

Northern Ireland has a serious shortage of STEM skills, with IT and civil engineering facing the biggest undersupply over the next 10 years. ICE and other industry bodies are endeavouring to recruit more young people by championing apprenticeships and alternative routes to qualification. However, being able to attract and retain women is also key to addressing the shortages.

“Women account for half the population and we want to see that reflected in Northern Ireland’s STEM sector,” says ICE Regional Director Richard Kirk. “It’s a matter of showing girls not only that it’s possible but that it’s desirable and full of opportunities for them.”