Donation to boost girls in engineering

Posted on 16 Aug 2017 and read 1570 times
Donation to boost girls in engineeringEx-RAF test pilot and former Loughborough University student Desmond Penrose, 87, has made an undisclosed donation to the university to fund a two-day residential engineering course for 50 teenage girls.

The goal of this initiative is to encourage more girls to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects as a future career.

Mr Penrose said: “I don’t feel that there’s a male and female difference in engineers. The challenge is encouraging girls to be interested in the subject from an early age.”

According to the National Centre for Universities and Business, the proportion of young women studying engineering has remained virtually static since 2012.

“We need to enhance the possibility of women choosing engineering over other subjects,” said Mr Penrose. “It’s something their male counterparts don’t need.

“The preconception that females can’t make it in STEM subjects should be put completely to one side; it’s just rubbish.”

Just 9% of the British engineering workforce is female, according to the Institute of Technology and Engineering — well below other European countries such as Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus, which lead with nearly 30%.

Loughborough’s programme aimed at improving these statistics will be led by the university’s schools and colleges liaison team.

Manager Kirsty Wilkinson says the event — due to take place next summer — will be an opportunity to open the eyes of young girls to the delights of science and engineering.

“The role of women in STEM is growing, but it’s still light years behind what it should it be. Desmond’s donation will be extremely useful for bridging that gap, and we thank him for his generosity.”

Mr Penrose studied aeronautical engineering at Loughborough University and graduated in 1951, before joining the RAF and becoming a test pilot.

He added: “It’s a privilege to donate this money in the name of my mother, Margaret Penrose, who encouraged my ambitions.”

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