Flying High is Not Just for Boys – the Aviation Special for girls!

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Female pupils in years 8 and 9, from high schools across South Wales, have taken the chance to discover the wide range of careers available in the aviation industry at a special Not Just For Boys event.

Run by Chwarae Teg, Not Just for Boys is designed to help girls find out more about different careers that might not be traditionally thought of as options for women, before they choose their GCSE subjects.

This latest event, opened by Jane Hutt, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, saw Chwarae Teg partner up with British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (BAMC) and Careers Wales for an activity packed day. Together they showed that careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are Not Just For Boys.

The pupils took a tour of the hangar at BAMC, which showcased the variety of roles available and got to try their hands at exciting try-a-trade activities across sectors including engineering and digital.

A variety of STEM industries and employers were exhibiting at the event, enabling the pupils to meet female role models and find out about vacancies, apprenticeships and qualification routes to the differing careers.

Pupils attended from Tonyrefail Community School, Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, Cyfartha High School, Llantwit Major, Crickhowell High School and St Cyres School.

The father of one pupil from Crickhowell school, said:

“It’s important for the girls to connect what they are learning in school and see how they could apply this to real life jobs.”

Pupil, Mia, from St Cyres school, said:

“It’s been great to learn about and explore different opportunities and feel enabled to do different careers.”

Emma Tamplin from Chwarae Teg said:

“At Chwarae Teg we want to show girls that their career aspirations should not to be limited by gender, so we were delighted to be working with a high profile, global company like British Airways Maintenance Cardiff and Careers Wales to spread this message.

“Our Not Just For Boys evets are important for a number of reasons. For instance, out of the schools in Wales offering physics at A level, 40% don’t have any girls on the course and figures for girls taking up computer science are also extremely low.

“Our own research has shown that 87% of girls feel they are pigeonholed into stereotyped career options. Also there are surveys which show that only 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female – the lowest percentage in Europe.

“These issues are vital to tackle, particularly as STEM industries are high growth sectors, with higher pay and better opportunities for progression, so girls need to know they are Not Just For Boys!”

Jane Hutt, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, whose responsibilities cover equalities, said:

“It was heartening to see so many girls interested and engaged with the activities. Events such as Not Just for Boys play a vital role in broadening the horizons of these local female pupils, providing them with information about options they may not have previously considered and opening their eyes to very rewarding careers.

“This is a positive example of not only a thriving industry in Wales, but one which wants to attract and significantly develop local talent – it’s a win win.”

Sarah Radcliffe, Human Resources Manager, British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (BAMC), said:

“We were really excited to be hosting Not Just For Boys in partnership with Chwarae Teg and Careers Wales. At BAMC we maintain British Airways long-haul fleet which includes the 747, 777 and the industry leading technology of the 787 Dreamliner.

“It was a fantastic event with some amazing people and exhibitors taking part. In an industry such as ours we need to attract a skilled workforce and encouraging girls to train and qualify in relevant subjects is a key part of that. We want to play our part in inspiring young women from the local area to become the engineers of the future.

“We hope the event will break down myths that such careers are just for boys, and make girls look at the exciting opportunities on offer.”