Sophie Madeley and Stacey Anderson represented ABB Turbocharging UK at the 1851 Trust Maritime Roadshow for Girls, a two-day event in Rosyth, Scotland in January 2020. They talked to attending schoolgirls about the ways science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects helped them in their career development and their current roles.
The 1851 Trust is a dynamic and innovative education charity, committed to encouraging young people in the UK to imagine their futures differently. By harnessing the power of professional sport, they challenge perceptions and engage with students to share the opportunities STEM subjects have to offer.
Sophie – ABB Turbocharging UK’s LBL manager – tells us: “The two-day event was a great opportunity to engage with pupils about the subjects they were considering for their final school years and the career routes they had in mind at this stage of their lives.”
She found the girls’ reactions encouraging: “It was refreshing to hear a lot of the pupils were considering taking STEM subjects and it seemed helpful to share my experience of developing a career in the maritime sector and how that career has developed through the last three decades with ABB.”
The event occurred against the background of a significant shortage of skilled STEM workers, currently set to worsen. In particular, women are significantly under-represented in technical and engineering careers such as those in the maritime sector, and the gender divide very clearly begins with school subject choices.
The maritime sector offers a vast range of careers, requiring an equally broad range of required skills. And those skillsets are only set to grow broader as technological advancements and automation spread. The importance of STEM qualifications will increase as jobs become more skilled and data-driven in response to new technology.
The event was designed to raise awareness of maritime careers in schools, and to encourage girls to confidently participate in STEM subjects at school, by introducing girls to female role models in the maritime industry who could tell them about the opportunities available and their career paths.
Stacey, an account manager at ABB Turbocharging UK – believes that the experience could well help some of the girls find their way into the sector: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to speak to pupils about the career options available after school. At a young age, it’s very difficult to make those choices. Throughout school, I selected design subjects and went on to complete two engineering degrees at university. When I was a child, I never imagined a career in the maritime industry, so it was really exciting to be able to share information about how to get into our sector, and possibly help inspire some of the girls to change direction.”