UNSW Engineering

Woman in Engineering Camp 2017 comments:

“I had a really brilliant time and absolutely loved meeting so many people who were all interested in the same thing as I was. I also loved all the opportunities we had to meet real engineers and get a proper idea of what engineering is all about.” Sarah

“Overall it was an amazing experience, with the opportunity to learn more about what engineering involves, and to meet new people with similar interests. The camp improved my communication skills and made me a lot more confident and comfortable with myself.” Amy

“Loved it so so much. Met some amazing like-minded girls. We need more things like this to boost the number of women in engineering.” Shayla

“I wish I could go again. It was amazing. This camp opened my eyes to so many disciplines of engineering.” Chelsea

To tackle the ongoing shortage of female representation in engineering fields, part of UNSW’s Women in Engineering (WIE) program involves reaching out to young women during their school years to inspire them to pursue engineering degrees and careers. These initiatives, among others, have led to steady growth in the number of female engineering enrolments at UNSW, to now above-average at 22% (the national average is closer to 17%), and the goal of boosting this to 30% by 2020.

One such initiative, the annual UNSW Women in Engineering Camp, invites female students in years 11 and 12 to spend five days on campus in early January, exploring the different engineering fields through hands-on workshops, site visits to companies like Atlassian, Infigen Energy, Telstra and Firmenich, and completing a team design project. They also attend a networking function to meet current engineering students, academics and professionals. This integrated approach has attracted many intelligent and driven girls from across Australia, helping to create a sustainable pipeline of outstanding qualified women in all sectors of engineering.

The 2017 Camp was attended by 103 young women with an interest in science, maths and engineering, one third of whom were from interstate or regional NSW. With the generous support of the James N. Kirby Foundation, fifteen travel grants were awarded to interstate or regional participants, helping to reduce the financial burden of travel costs, allowing a much broader outreach and engagement level to young women across all of Australia. This support will continue in 2018. At the conclusion of the week-long program, 100% of participants said that they would recommend the camp to a friend, while the number of girls who said they are ‘fairly sure’ that they want to pursue engineering rose to 85%, compared to 64% before the camp. The University of New South Wales thanks the James N. Kirby Foundation for its generous donation and continued support.

Dr Alex Bannigan
Women in Engineering Manager