Girls Into Engineering

11 October 2022

As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, we look back on one example of our long-term commitments to addressing gender-balance within the workforce.

Earlier this year, Leonardo STEM ambassadors were delighted to return to The Smallpeice Trust Girls Into Engineering residential course, designed for female school students in years 8-9 to unlock their potential as engineers of the future.

Hosted at Loughborough University, the attendees gained hands-on experience of creating, designing and inventing under the mentorship of engineers such as those from Leonardo.

Sophie Kennedy, Education Officer at The Smallpeice Trust, commented: “Girls Into Engineering brings young girls together with their peers to learn more about engineering and engage with role models from our awesome corporate partners Leonardo, who are able to show the students what life is really like as an engineer and answer questions about careers in the industry.

“The best thing about these courses is seeing students flourish as they learn more about engineering, connect with real-life engineers and make new friends with young people their own age.”

Leonardo has a long-standing partnership with The Smallpeice Trust, and was excited to once again support this initiative, having been involved since the inaugural Girls Into Engineering course in 2014. 

Olivia Freestone, Systems Engineer at our Luton site, who was invited to talk with attendees at the event’s networking dinner, said: “Many of us who work as engineers know just how important early experiences like Girls Into Engineering are to encourage more young women into STEM careers. There are so many skills associated with being an engineer, and understanding this is so important to helping young people realise what they can achieve. By working together in teams to complete a two-day electronics project, course participants were introduced to the various disciplines in a fun and interactive way. Several girls told me they were now considering studying engineering in the future.”

At Leonardo, we’re proud of the contributions of all female engineers within our business, and working alongside organisations such as The Smallpeice Trust, we are keen to encourage greater numbers of women into engineering and STEM more widely.

We have an active network group dedicated to addressing gender balance, Equalise, through which we encourage employee-led activities, such as AeroWomen. And we reinforce our commitment to celebrating the contributions of women in our industry as signatories of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter and the Women in Defence Charter

It was great to hear from the attendees themselves that our work to encourage young women into STEM subjects is helping. Following the course, Dotty, who was one of the students sponsored by Leonardo at Girls Into Engineering, said: “I have really enjoyed meeting new people and hanging out with lots of girls who are interested in the same things as me. It has been a lot of fun getting to know everyone and spend time together. I hadn’t thought about becoming an engineer before, but the career talks from Leonardo mentors opened my eyes to all the options I could have in the engineering industry.

“I was unsure about attending, as I was worried it was going to be too challenging, but everyone has been lovely. When I struggled with the work, my team offered me support. Thank you to Leonardo for sponsoring me and allowing me to come on this course!” 

Noorulain, another Leonardo-sponsored student, commented: “I would really recommend Girls Into Engineering. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. Leonardo has been amazing. I hope to gain work experience with them and maybe even work there in the future!”