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Inspiring female students to choose engineering

The first of a series of events aimed at inspiring young female students to consider a career in engineering is launching for the first time in Western Australia next month.

On Friday April 4, the first Power of Engineering event will take place at Curtin University in Perth, where female high school students will be inspired by a selection of workshops, site visits and empowering speakers.

Established in 2012 in Queensland, Power of Engineering is a not-for-profit organisation backed by government and key industry, including Engineers Australia, Queensland University of Technology and AECOM.

Currently in Australia, only 11 per cent of engineers are female, with over half being under 30 years of age and just 15 per cent over the age of 40 remaining in the profession.

Power of Engineering Co-Founder and President Felicity Briody said the Perth event is the first of many events and workshops planned for Western Australia that aim to squash the perception that a career in engineering is all about maths and hard hats and prove that it has the power to creatively change the world.

“Many perceptions are attached to engineering that often discourage people to consider it as an exciting career, so we have designed these events to help challenge the perception, showcase what engineering is really about and prove that it’s an innovative and creative profession that can shape the world,” she said.

“We’ve held over 20 events throughout Queensland and Victoria in the past two years and are thrilled to be expanding Power of Engineering events to launch in Western Australia. Western Australia’s engineering environment is very similar to that of Queensland, and we see it as a key part of our growth plan.”

The Perth event will commence with a welcome address to students by Western Australia’s Former Chief Scientist Lynn Beazley, who was recently inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame and holds over 30 years of experience.

The event will also feature site visits to two locations, including the GE Information Centre in Perth where students will be exposed to real life day-to-day engineering, as well as participate in interactive workshops where they can try problem solving in areas such as civil and water engineering.

Two empowering industry guest speakers address the students, including Woodside Energy’s Environmental Engineer Katrina Bukauskas who will discuss her experiences as an environmental engineer in the oil and gas sector and the opportunities she has encountered in her career such as volunteering in Engineers Without Borders.

Bukauskas said she is passionate about Power of Engineering and understands the importance of encouraging people to consider engineering as a career path is significant.

“When I was a high school student no one ever told me what opportunities I had to consider but I chose engineering after my physics teacher made the suggestion in the second half of year 12. I’m passionate about Power of Engineering because it gives girls just like me the opportunity to fully appreciate their options so they can make informed decisions about their future,” she said.

“Women offer diversity of thought and operating styles, which help to balance out teams making them more effective and efficient. Also engineering is a well-paid, challenging and diverse career option that provides numerous pathways for anyone to follow and young women should not be missing out.”

Over 120 female years nine and ten students are expected to attend, with up to 20 students from approximately ten high schools across the region.

Do you know women doing great thing in the engineering industry?

Nominations are now open for the 2014 Women in Industry Awards which are aimed at raising the profile of women within industry, as well as promoting and encouraging excellence.

These may be women you work with, women whose achievements are inspiring you from afar, or women who are providing you with invaluable guidance and support. Their achievements may not be creating headlines, but we believe their dedication and exceptionalism should be celebrated.

To get involved, visit:

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