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Girls enjoy an engineering experience

Press release issued: 28 July 2014

Last week, 97 girls aged 12- to 14-years-old from across the UK benefited from a unique hands-on learning experience at the University of Bristol. Financially supported by the ERA Foundation and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, this three-day residential programme [21-23 July] was organised by The Smallpeice Trust to provide students with the opportunity to learn about engineering through a series of presentations and practical workshops.

In small teams, the Year 8 and 9 students worked on ‘real-life’ challenges led by role model engineers from Airbus, Lloyd’s Register, National Composites Centre and the National Nuclear Laboratory. Students were guided through all stages of product development, from initial concept to final testing and were faced with real-life issues including the need to work within a budget and make the project commercially viable. Projects included designing and building a bridge to destruction, a centrifuge and an aircraft and cargo ship to complete a pre-determined course.

As well as the practical side of the course, students attended lectures and presentations delivered by engineers from Dyson, Ford and the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering.  They also had a tour of the facilities offered at the University.

The social programme included a film night and a formal dinner and disco with after dinner speaker, Laura Howarth-Kirke, previous winner of the Science Engineering Technology (SET) Student of the Year Award .

Eileen Kinghan, LRF Grants Manager, commented: “Lloyd’s Register Foundation is delighted at the success of this new programme, with its focus on giving girls a better understanding of what engineering means. Our support is aligned to our new strategic objective of widening access. We hope that the girls who participated will be encouraged to use their technical skills and creativity in engineering and go on to be innovators and problem-solvers.”

David Clark, Executive Secretary of the ERA Foundation, said: “For the UK to flourish in a competitive world it is important that we attract the brightest and the best into engineering, regardless of gender. At the present time women are underrepresented in the profession; in moving forwarded we need to get girls excited about all that engineering does for national prosperity and the quality of life of the citizens of the UK. Smallpeice are playing an important role in this endeavour.”

Claire Fisher, spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, added: “Thanks to the generous support of The ERA Foundation and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, we have been able to offer these budding female engineers an opportunity to learn all about the diverse careers available in engineering. Challenging projects were led by some of the biggest names in the engineering industry, for which we are very grateful. All credit to the students on the course as they all embraced the opportunity and showed extreme dedication and enthusiasm to their projects and the course as a whole.”

The Girls into Engineering course is organised by independent charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an on-going programme of residential courses to help young people aged 12 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Trust has reached out to 17,495 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2015 will be launched in the autumn school term. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

Further information

About The Smallpeice Trust
The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 12 to 18.

The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”

The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.

Over the past year, The Smallpeice Trust has engaged with 17,495 young people through 35 different subsidised residential courses, in-school STEM Days and starting up STEM Clubs. More emphasis has been put on programmes physically delivered by The Smallpeice Trust. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 1,280 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.

A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.

About Lloyd’s Register Foundation
Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), a UK registered charity and sole shareholder of Lloyd’s Register Group Ltd, invests in science, engineering and technology for public benefit, worldwide.  For more information, visit

About The ERA Foundation
The ERA Foundation contributes to the economic vitality of the UK by supporting activities that help bridge the gap between research and commercialisation in engineering (with a particular focus on the broad field of electrotechnology). For more information, visit

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