On June 23rd 2016, Yorkshire water hosted free education sessions to display just what it can offer to female pupils harbouring a desire to pursue a career path in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The company was supporting the third annual Women in Engineering Day today (23rd June) by hosting ten sessions at its Headingley Water Treatment Works in Leeds to try and boost the numbers of skilled female engineers working in the water sector.
By the end of the week, 265 6th and 7th year female students had learnt about the exciting career paths in those fields directly from female employees actively working at Yorkshire Water. The sessions were very interactive, giving pupils the platform to pose some questions to Yorkshire Water’s female employees about their experiences, including graduates and apprentices who work in operational roles.
As an added bonus, the pupils received what is a very popular guided tour of Headingley Water Treatment Works, where they discovered how water is cleaned and how Yorkshire Water supplies its customers with a constant supply of fresh drinking water.
Shilpi Arora, Talent Adviser at Yorkshire Water and who organised the sessions said, “We want to inspire female students in primary school and year 7 of upper school to consider careers in engineering, science, technology and maths. We really hope that these sessions will encourage female students to consider these roles when they are beginning high school and when they choose their optional subjects a few years down the line.”
The sessions showed early signs of growing into a potential success based on the positive comments of a couple of students who’d attended the earliest sessions of the week.
Holly Swann from Allerton High School said, “It was really fun finding out about what is used to treat the water and especially how it is filtered. A lot of jobs would make you think it is just about water and for males but the sessions have made me see the different aspects like IT. In the future I would consider a career in this discipline.”
Alina Ali from the Featherstone Academy commented, “It was quite encouraging because it wasn’t just to do with water but is about technology, computers and engineering. There are lots of opportunities for girls and I will definitely be thinking about a career in this field.”
Scenes epitomising the event feature students listening attentively to a short opening presentation, with the speech covering a background of Yorkshire Water and also exploring some of the careers the water company has available. One of the highlights for the students was an up close and first hand peak into the water treatment process inside Headingley Water Treatment Works. They witnessed the clarification stage of the process, during which chemicals are added to magnetise the bacteria and dirt. A jelly-like substance known as floc is then formed, while air bubbles are passed through the tanks to make the floc float to the surface. Once the floc has reached the surface it can be scraped off very easily.