Northumbria University's NUSTEM project has been recognised for its innovative work in improving diversity in engineering education.
Alongside projects from Canada and Italy, NUSTEM was selected by Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) as one of three finalists in the 7th annual Airbus GEDC Diversity Award.
This global award recognises successful initiatives that inspire students from all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering.
Launched by Airbus in 2012, the long-term goal of the award is to increase diversity amongst engineering professionals globally, so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports.
An Award Committee of Airbus employees and GEDC members reviewed 48 entries from 18 countries and five continents, the highest number of entries in the history of the award.
The committee deemed the quality of entries to be exceptionally high with 14 projects selected for the shortlist.
Collectively, these projects have made engineering career paths more visible and more attainable to over 80,000 students worldwide.
NUSTEM was selected as a finalist for the innovative nature of the project and results to date.
In the UK, under 20% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female. The UK also has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe, with the proportion in the North East even lower.
Established in 2014, NUSTEM represents a radical rethink of university outreach. The initiative, built on robust research, provides sustained, collaborative, inclusive and career-informed interventions with young people from early years onwards, and with their influencers - their families and teachers.
These interventions include careers-inspired curriculum-focussed workshops and simple, accessible tools such as ‘STEM Person of the Week’.
NUSTEM now has long-term collaborations with 48 schools in areas of deprivation and has worked with 43,795 children and enabled a further 14,119 interactions with their families and teachers.
NUSTEM Director Dr Carol Davenport said: “I feel very strongly that it is vital that all children and young people, irrespective of their background, believe that they can have a career in STEM.
"In doing so, they can find fulfilling and interesting careers, as well as being part of the solution to the problems that are facing the world.
"I am delighted that NUSTEM has been recognised as a finalist. What we have been doing has only been possible through close working relationships with partner schools and the wider community, along with the investment and commitment of Northumbria University to broadening aspirations of children in the North East.”
A representative from each of the three finalist projects will present their initiative to a distinguished Jury at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France, later this year, where the winning project will also be announced.
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