Skip to content

Breaking down barriers for future careers in STEM


A group of five students stood up wearing orange hi-vis jackets and hard hats

An event to encourage female school students to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been held at the University of Bradford.

Female students from schools across the Bradford district attended the event to mark International Women’s Day (on Friday 8 March). Participating schools were Immanuel College, Co-op Academy Grange, The Fountain School, Woodhouse Grove School, Lightcliffe Academy, New College and St Bedes and St Josephs.

During their visit the students, aged from school years nine to 13, attended a panel discussion with women who work for companies in a host of industries including aviation and construction, to encourage them to consider careers in STEM.

Four students stood around a table with a number of Lego models on it

The students were also given a tour of some of the University of Bradford’s facilities including the Institute for Cancer Therapeutics, Polymer Research Centre, Architecture and Engineering labs. 

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “We want to create a world of opportunity where people want to, and can, make a difference. We are all different in so many ways.”

Four students and a staff member stood around a microscope in an engineering room

Dr Christina Tuinea-Bobe, Research & Knowledge Transfer Business Development Manager at the University of Bradford, said: “There are so few females in engineering, and we need to create an environment to foster the growth of females in STEM.”

The students were also given the opportunity to find out more on future careers in STEM by speaking to representatives from a host of firms who attended the event’s careers fair. Solenis, FAUM Architecture, Atkins Realis, AZETS, Mansfield Pollard, Bradford Council, Born in Bradford, AMEY and the University of Bradford were all on hand to offer advice to the students. 

a person sat at a table holding up a brochure in each hand

Megan Dutton, 17, pictured above, who works as a Junior Support Officer at Leeds Bradford Airport and is also a student at The Aviation Academy at Craven College, was a member of the event’s panel and had advice to the students who attended about their future career choices.

She said: “I would say to girl students looking to their careers to be yourself, don’t worry about people putting you down. 

“I’m 17, I’m around the same age as the students here today. I would say to them just to keep going and feel empowered.”

A head and shoulders picture of a person at a university event

Rebecca Fitzgerald, pictured above, Director of Data at Yorkshire Building Society, Vice-President of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce and host of the event’s panel, says it was important to help inspire young female students to enter a career in STEM. 

She said: “The next generation need to see people who they can relate to. It’s about us having the opportunity to share with them the journeys we have been on. For them to see people in their local community and it is good to see a diverse population of women. 

“Today, I am really excited to see a shift and there are more women I can invite to the panel now. It is great that there are so many women who want to share their stories.”