Supporting our scholars to develop their professional network is central to the Scholarship Scheme. For the 7th consecutive year, the UKESF arranged for final year female scholars to attend the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Student Conference, their places were kindly sponsored by STMicroelectronics.

The conference, which took place in Leeds on 1 December 2023, comprised sessions on networking, resilience and presenting, alongside the opportunity to hear from women in the industry.

Some of our scholars share their thoughts and experiences following the event.

I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Engineering Society Student Conference in Leeds. I left the event feeling super inspired, so I want to share some of the workshops and talks that made it such a memorable experience for me.

Overall, this was a great opportunity to connect with other talented women engineers and hear their stories. I learned that I’m not alone in many of the experiences that have characterised my journey up until now. Much of the advice extended beyond career and was applicable to many areas of personal growth and development. I learned how I can continue to hone my skills and pave a path into engineering and tech.

Events like the WES conference help women feel part of a wider community. They show us that we are not alone in our experiences and are a really good opportunity to learn how we can better navigate our professional lives. These sorts of events are crucial in retaining female talent in the industry.

Qali Mahamoud – Aston University/CSA Catapult

I think that most of the speakers at the WES Conference were and are genuinely supportive of young women finding their place within tech and engineering. I think that events for young women and minority genders are incredibly important across all industries but I also think there should be a greater focus on working together as a community. For instances, at the conference there were many questions about how to react to men when they talk over women, which is a very important topic especially with how it links with general confidence issues and imposter syndrome as a woman. However, the answers never commented on what is being done to stop men actually doing it in the first place. I think that these conferences should definitely cover these issues more and move away from creating a “us and them” environment between men and women in STEM.

Leane Ickes – Leeds University/Raspberry Pi

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the WES conference. I was so inspired by the atmosphere that was held that day. The environment of working with other women during the bridge exercise is something I hope to see and feel in my future endeavours. From Vince Pizzoni’s amazing advice on cv creation, my peers’ brave one minute presentations, and Elizabeth Donelly’s incredible advice on how to be more confident in the workplace as a women, I learned a lot. I am incredibly grateful.

Sofiya Rahman – Aston University/CSA Catapult