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Girlguiding joins forces with the ICE to empower future engineers

11 October 2023

The institution has formed a partnership with three Girlguiding regions to inspire young women to pursue civil engineering careers.

Girlguiding joins forces with the ICE to empower future engineers
Girlguiding units can request the help of ICE STEM Ambassadors to run the sessions.

The ICE and three Girlguiding regions have set up a new partnership to inspire guides and rangers to explore the world of civil engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The collaboration will span Northern Ireland, Wales Cymru, and London and the South East of England.

A new civil engineering badge will be at the heart of the partnership, encouraging Girlguiding members to discover more about the profession and the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career in this field.

This unique initiative comes as a response to the ongoing gender disparity in STEM fields, particularly within engineering.

The ICE is committed to fostering diversity and inclusivity within its industry. This partnership’s aim is to encourage more young women to explore civil engineering as a viable career option, emphasising that it’s a field for everyone, regardless of gender.

The ICE aims to also encourage female leadership in civil engineering, fostering their skills, confidence, and passion for positively impacting society through engineering solutions.

What do Girlguiding do?

Girlguiding, a leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, provides a safe and supportive environment to develop life skills, leadership qualities, and self-confidence.

By collaborating with three ICE regions, Girlguiding aims to enhance and continue to grow its STEM offerings.

The partnership will expose guides and rangers to the exciting world of civil engineering and provide them with access to female role models who have excelled in the field.

Debbie McDowell, chief commissioner for Girlguiding Ulster, said: “We're absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers.

“Girlguiding is all about adventure, challenge and empowering girls and young women to do anything. We’re proud to be able to offer a safe, inclusive space where girls can be themselves and have fun - all whilst developing essential skills for their future.”

Beverley Martin, chief commissioner for Girlguiding Cymru, added: “This partnership is a powerful example of how we can work together to inspire and empower the next generation of engineers.

“Through our combined efforts, we are helping girls to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in STEM and make a difference in the world.

Martin highlighted the activities on offer: “The Institution of Civil Engineers has developed a fantastic resource for guides and rangers aged 10-18, which includes activities such as bridge building, and solving water distribution following a natural disaster.”

The regional civil engineering badges.
The regional civil engineering badges.

What does the partnership look like?

The ICE, with its members, is well-positioned to provide mentorship and guidance to Girlguiding members interested in civil engineering.

Girlguiding units will run the sessions themselves but have the opportunity to request ICE STEM Ambassadors to lead unit sessions if needed.

By connecting Girlguiding members with female professionals in the field, the ICE hopes to demystify engineering, introduce real-life role models, and offer valuable insights into the various career paths available within the sector.

The partnership will include an activity pack filled with a series of activities designed to engage guides and rangers in the three regions.

Activities will include a shelter building challenge, a communication task, geotechnic challenges, an ‘out and about’ engineering challenge, and much more.

These activities are introduced by female civil engineers and will showcase the principles of engineering through hands-on experience.

It will give guides and rangers a practical understanding of civil engineering concepts and their real-world application.

The activity pack will also include links to ICE Inspire, a 360° virtual careers centre; ICE CityZen Pollution Control, and the ICE’s on-demand virtual work experience with Springpod.

Why is this partnership important?

As the world continues to face complex challenges, ranging from climate change to infrastructure development, diverse perspectives and talents in civil engineering are more crucial than ever.

Commenting on the partnership, Séan Harris, director of membership at the ICE, said: “Our regional teams are both proud and excited to team up with Girlguiding UK in an effort to encourage more women to pursue a career in civil engineering.

“Civil engineering is not just about building structures, roads or railways; it's about shaping our future through connecting communities, solving global challenges, and enhancing quality of life for all.

A successful future requires us to harness all available talent and that includes young female engineers from across society”, he said.

The partnership aims to encourage more girls to consider a career in civil engineering.
The partnership aims to encourage more girls to consider a career in civil engineering.

Collectively, this new partnership will establish a platform for a future where all aspiring engineers, regardless of their gender, have the prospect to excel and create an impact on the world.

Harris added: “We need women with a passion for protecting the environment as we shape the world around us; to that end, we seek greater diversity within civil engineering. Our collaboration with Girlguiding UK, will inspire the next generation of female civil engineers.

“The scheme will nurture their limitless talents and encourage fresh thinking in dealing with existential challenges facing humankind. But first, this partnership, will help young women develop essential skills and a greater sense of confidence.

“Together, we will make the world a safer, fairer and more sustainable place in which to live.”

Get involved

To get involved in this new partnership, ICE STEM Ambassadors based in one of the three regions should contact their local ICE regional team.

ICE Northern Ireland: [email protected]

ICE Wales Cymru: [email protected]

ICE London: [email protected]

ICE South East England: [email protected]

Become an ICE STEM Ambassador

Those who want to get involved but aren’t an ICE STEM Ambassador yet can register via STEM Learning.

  • Fatima Uddin, membership marketing executive at Institution of Civil Engineers