"My favourite part about the conference was that it was all about equality and that it showed the benefit of having a more diverse working environment."

Mara, UKESF Scholar 2014–17

UKESF supports female scholars at WES Student Conference

The UKESF is committed to supporting the development of our scholars as they move into the next phase of their careers; for this reason we offered four all-expenses-paid spaces at the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Student Conference 2016 to our final year female scholars.

The conference took place at the Aston University Conference Centre, Birmingham, from Friday 18th to Saturday 19th November. This annual event brings together over 150 students and engineers to celebrate a shared passion for engineering and technology, providing an opportunity to network with role models, gain insight into emerging wes-logotechnologies, improve career confidence and learn from a range of workshops, panel discussions and activities.

Feedback from our female scholars who attended was overwhelmingly positive; they share their thoughts below.

“I had a great time at the WES Student Conference over the weekend, thanks again to the UKESF for supporting my attendance.

I thought the conference was a great opportunity to network with other engineering students as well as to listen to some excellent speakers on topics such as ‘Role Models, Identity and Confidence: When Does It Start To Matter?’ and ‘Someone Like Me Can Succeed In Engineering’. Several companies sponsored the event and attendees could chat to their representatives at the mini careers fair held during refreshment breaks. I enjoyed all the talks and was pleased that the speakers came from a wide range of engineering backgrounds.

The workshop sessions were a chance to undertake practical work and allowed for a bit of a break from sitting listening to the talks. A particular highlight of the conference was the after-dinner speaker on Friday, Dr Rhys Morgan from the Royal Academy of Engineering, who gave an insightful and funny talk about people’s perceptions of engineering and what needs to be done in the future to encourage more people to study engineering.”

Emma, UKESF Scholar 2014–17, studies at University of Southampton and sponsored by ARM

“The talks from various women in industry were fun. It was so nice to see and network with so many female engineers all in one place. It was also enjoyable to have the opportunity to network with some engineering companies whilst I was there.

For me, the best part of the conference was the interactive workshop and workshops on professional engineering competencies. Having a session on CVs and ‘Interviews with Impact’ at this time was really helpful for me as I am now in my final year at university and looking for job opportunities for graduation.

The session on ‘Communication & Interpersonal Skills’ was also very helpful. What was particularly good about the session was that it was run by an engineer who explained how to communicate and present with minimal nerves. She really explained this in terms I, as an engineering student, could easily understand.”

Joanna, UKESF Scholar 2013–17 and Scholar of the Year 2016, studies at University of Bristol and sponsored by Imagination Technologies

“The WES conference was an excellent experience for meeting extraordinary female professionals and future engineers. It provided an opportunity to speak with professionals from many areas about their jobs, the fields they are working in and their experiences, as professionals and as females in engineering. Furthermore, the workshops covered a broad range of skills, from team working to systems engineering and CV writing. I found the ‘CV writing and Effective Interview’ session to be the most useful since it contained more details compared to other similar sessions I have attended. Furthermore, the presence of a HR recruiter from BP added value through the insights she gave us into the way a recruiter thinks.

My favourite part about the conference was that it was all about equality and that it showed the benefit of having a more diverse working environment. Its aim was to give confidence to the attendees and to make them aware of the support available and the current activities that encourage girls to pursue a career in STEM. My university does not have a WES group and, following the conference, I am determined to take the initiative myself. I would definitely recommend attending the conference because it is so much more than just a few workshops. I even met a few girls that have attended it more than once!”

Mara, UKESF Scholar 2014–17 and runner-up Scholar of the Year 2016, studies at University of Manchester and sponsored by Qualcomm