School girls from across Sheffield took part in a national event last week which explored the possibilities available to females in the engineering sector.

As part of the event, organised by Streets Ahead highways contractor, Amey; year 8, 9 and 10 school girls spent a day at Distington House in Sheffield for the Amey Challenge Cup.

The annual competition, which came to Sheffield last week for the first time, involves 230 girls from 20 schools across the UK and 100 Amey employees.

Designed to inspire and support young girls to achieve their potential as engineers and show how many different roles are available within the technology and engineering sectors, the event also encourages underprivileged schoolgirls to break the status quo and consider alternative occupations.

Currently, only 11% of the British engineering workforce is female and there is a real need to change existing perceptions to meet a growing skills gap in the industry. At Amey, 90 percent of the workforce is male.

Peter Bamfield is Amey’s new Business Director for Streets Ahead. He said: “It was great to attend this motivating event, which was well received by the girls involved. Positive strides are being pursued by Amey to actively encourage more females into our industry, and that’s really promising.

“Events like this which showcase our diverse engineering profession help to change existing perceptions, which is definitely needed in this sector.”

Four teams of girls from two schools in Sheffield, UTC and Outwood Academy City, were involved in the event and looked at all aspects of an engineering project, from designing a section of smart motorway to budgeting and managing risk.

The challenge also saw the girls presenting their solutions to senior professionals- one being the Assistant Head of Highways at Sheffield City Council, Richard Bulloss.

He said, “It was a real pleasure to have been involved in this event and see some of the fantastic concepts that the girls came up with.

“There was a real appetite for the task at hand and I hope that the challenge will spur the girls on to explore the many options available to them in the evolving world of engineering.

“The winning team from Outwood Academy impressed the judges with their willingness to challenge some of the traditional ways of thinking in civil engineering and the teamwork approach to solving the problem.”

Further challenge cup events will be held around the country in coming weeks, including in York, Birmingham and London.