GIRLS were given a taster of life as science and engineering students at a series of hands-on workshops at the University of Portsmouth.
Around 40 Year 9 pupils from schools across the city took part in the one-off event to encourage girls with a flair for science, technology, engineering or maths into a career in engineering.
They visited the computing, mechanical engineering and civil engineering departments to take part in a number of activities, including building a motorised toy car.
Other workshops asked the girls to construct a small bridge to support chocolate bars and design a computer programme to make sweets.
Friends Aimee Wragg and Megan Notman, both 14, from City of Portsmouth Girls’ School, made a car together and raced it against other models.
Megan said: ‘It was really fun, I loved building the car.
‘It taught me that you can vary things, even when you have a limited amount of materials.
‘We all had the same things to start with but all the cars looked different.
‘I wouldn’t have thought his would be my kind of thing but it has definitely made me rethink my options.’
The schools involved were Charter Academy, City of Portsmouth Girls’, Cowplain, Mayfield, Miltoncross, Priory, Springfield and St Edmund’s.
Barbara Haward, associate dean of students for the university’s technology faculty, said: ‘We want to raise the profile of engineering amongst women and inspire them into the industry.
‘And we feel there is a real need to do this because women don’t traditionally go into it.’
‘Across the whole of the faculty of technology, only 14 to 15 per cent of our students are female, and that figure has been roughly the same for the last six years.
‘We want to see more a balance and show girls that engineering can be an enjoyable and extremely rewarding career.’