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Female staff from Siemens Mobility Ltd and TeamExecutive ‘speed mentored’ some of the talented, women of tomorrow at Talbot Heath School.

Representatives from the engineering giant, the executive recruitment specialist and other local organisations, took part in the event at the school in Rothesay Road, Bournemouth, to encourage students to consider careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).

During timed, 10-minute sessions, pupils quizzed the women about their education, their routes into the sector, and the challenges of being in a predominantly-male environment.

The tables were then turned as the mentors asked the pupils about their own career ambitions.

The event was led by Victoria Sargeant, Head of Commodity Management at Siemens Mobility Limited with the support of Sally Bennett, Manager of TeamExecutive, based in Bournemouth.

Victoria said:

“Siemens is the world’s largest engineering business with 1500 employees in the UK alone, yet only 21 per cent of our UK workforce is female - and unfortunately this is a common problem in the industry.”

She continued:

“Despite outperforming boys across most STEAM subjects at GCSE, the number of female STEAM students drops drastically as they move through school and university, and by the time young people start work, less than one in eight of the engineering workforce is female.

“Fortunately companies like Siemens and TeamExecutive are actively committed to changing this, through initiatives like our Women into Leadership Programme and the recruitment of women into top level positions.

“The face to face mentoring we have done today at Talbot Heath is also hugely valuable because it enables young women to ask real questions and get real answers, borne out of real experience.”

Sally Bennett, Manager of TeamExecutive, an associate brand of the Dorset based recruitment specialist TeamJobs, agreed:

“The speed mentoring not only gave pupils the opportunity to talk directly to women who have forged careers in traditionally male-donated industries, it also demonstrated the vast range of careers encapsulated in something like engineering, from marketing and IT, to product development and law.

“I for one was very impressed by the maturity of the girls’ questions. And as a mentor I found it hugely rewarding to be able to share my own experiences with these young women and hopefully inspire them too.”

TJ, 14, was one of the Talbot Heath pupils taking part. She said:

“Both my parents are engineers so I have an insight into the many possibilities a career like this offers. But it’s only quite recently that the opportunities for women in engineering have been talked about. I think we need to start getting girls interested in engineering and STEAM at a much earlier age, ideally as soon as they start school.”

Talbot Heath is currently building a STEAM Hub which will incorporate a 600-seater auditorium, lecture theatres, a virtual reality studio and exhibition space. There will also be facilities for graphic design, art, textiles, robotics, design technology, drama and food tech.

The school has also established a new curriculum to better provide its pupils with the business skills they will need in the global workplace of the future.

Lisa Northey-Dennis the school’s Director of Development, said: “It was a privilege to host the mentors and hugely inspirational for the girls and we are already looking forward to repeating it on a larger scale, to include other local schools, in 2019.”

Representatives from the engineering giant Siemens, the executive recruitment specialist TeamExecutive and other local organisations, took part in speed mentoring at Talbot Heath, to encourage students to consider careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). Seen here, Victoria Sargeant of Siemens.

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