University of Hertfordshire wins youth grant to support diversity in engineering
The University of Hertfordshire has been awarded £61,000 by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) towards the implementation of a project that will encourage more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic school pupils to choose engineering as a degree.
The grant is one of just eight sought-after awards of up to £100,000, given as part of the RAE’s Diversity Impact Programme, which aims to increase diversity and inclusion in engineering. It was awarded to the University’s School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Sciences (SPECS) to fund an innovative project that will give Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students the opportunity to experience study within the department, with the aim of inspiring them to take suitable A-Levels towards an engineering degree.
A trial group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students will be admitted to a two-day residential course at SPECS at the end of their Year 10, after which they will have access to post-placement support from a Black mentor within the department as they make their journey to university. The scheme will be assessed to see whether it can have a positive effect on the number of black students choosing engineering as a career.
“Evidence from past residential programmes suggests that 30% of participants progress to higher education, but this figure increases to 50% for those who engage with at least three successive interventions,” says Susan Murray, Head of the Department of Engineering. “Follow-up revision workshops during the Easter holidays in the next year and mentoring will be key to embedding the learnings of the immersive week.”
The engineering industry is still predominantly white; as few as 6% of registered workers in the industry are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. The RAE Diversity Impact Program, set up in 2021, aims to inspire change in university engineering departments so that all students succeed.
“Engineering and technology shape the world around us and play a critical role in addressing some of the greatest global challenges of our age,” says Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the RAE. “It is therefore vital that the engineering profession is reflective of the society it seeks to serve. I hope this project will provide important insights into how we can help create more inclusive cultures at a critical stage for aspiring engineers.”
For more on the Diversity Impact Program see: raeng.org.uk/programmes-and-prizes/programmes/uk-grants-and-prizes/support-for-education/diversity-impact-programme
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