Local girls have been given a unique opportunity to meet with female engineers, pilots and other staff at London Stansted Airport, at a special event to mark the 3rd United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Fifty-five girls in Years 7 to 10 from Forest Hall School in Stansted Mountfitchet, the airport’s partner school, attended today where they met 15 women working in STEM-related roles at the airport. The interactive event was held at the Aerozone – Stansted Airport’s dedicated education facility – on the day created to celebrate women who work in scientific fields and inspire more young women to consider a future in science and maths.

The team included an easyJet captain, a Fed Ex operations manager, and colleagues from across security, finance, IT, engineering and more departments at the airport. Each colleague hosted a table and groups of students rotated around the room to ask questions and find out more about the colleague’s job and how they got there.

2018 was the Year of Engineering, a national campaign to show young people from diverse backgrounds the vast opportunities engineering offers to shape the world around them, and the different routes they can take into engineering careers. The campaign was supported by Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Engineering who sent a video message of support for the students attending the event. She said:

“It’s fantastic to see London Stansted Airport’s Aerozone give girls the chance to see first-hand the incredible range of opportunities available to them if they choose to follow a career in STEM. The aviation industry needs more girls to embrace these fantastic opportunities, which is why it’s so important for them to meet with the kind of inspiring female role models that are here today, and to really understand the rewarding careers that they could follow.

“By encouraging people from all backgrounds to realise: ‘I could do that, that could be me,’ we can nurture a diverse workforce where people’s unique skills and backgrounds are recognised and rewarded, ensuring Britain continues to lead the way in aviation technology and engineering.”

The event has received support from Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden, who said:

“As an engineer, I know how important it is for more women to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). These subjects not only offer opportunities in some of the most interesting and diverse jobs in the world, they teach invaluable life-skills, such as problem-solving, creativity and resilience. I welcome the work Stansted Airport is doing to change the perception of STEM and to get more women to consider a career in these subjects. The airport employs 12,000 people and is one of the biggest success stories in our region.

“Airports need people with backgrounds in STEM. Whether they be pilots, air traffic controllers or other engineers and scientists. As the digital age progresses, our nation’s future is going to increasingly rely upon these disciplines. I hope that the 55 female students from Forest Hall School who visit the Aerozone on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science leave suitably inspired.”

Marcella M’Rabety, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at London Stansted, said:

“We believe that it is important to use our resources to break down some of the barriers facing young women and share the expertise of our on-site colleagues. We wanted to welcome young ladies from the local community, who might be trying to decide on future career paths, to hear from female colleagues in various roles in and around the airport and to be inspired to pursue their goals or research new career ideas.”

Layla Ellis, a year 7 student at Forest Hall School, said:

“I really enjoyed the visit and all the staff were very helpful. I now know loads more than before the trip and it has inspired me to get more into STEM as a career when I am older.”