A visit for “curious and logical” girls

Back in March, #NotJustForBoys partnered with Queen’s University’s School of Electronics,  Electrical Engineering and Computing Science to showcase study and career options for girls.

19 girls from Trinity College and Girls Model were hosted by female student mentors. They organised for us to meet experts and have demonstrations of some of the technology they work with. They even gave the girls a pizza lunch!

Getting Hands On

The girls had the chance to go into the Lego studio, where the students get to build models to test ideas and technology – all with Lego constructions!

The visit to the 3D printing room was also another highlight, as there was a chance to see how interesting things could be designed and made quickly and precisely.

Two hands-on activities were real favourites. The girls had a chance to programme a drone to fly through one of the busy student break areas. This activity really showed the importance of thinking logically. It was satisfying when you got the steps exactly right, and the drone could fly safely to the other side of the room and come back to land.

In the VR (Virtual Reality) Lab, the girls were challenged to take a virtual ride in a glass lift and then walk the plank! From the looks on some of their faces, and the occasional wobbly knees, it seems it was a challenge for the nerves! Although on this visit it was just for fun, VR technology is being used in many ways, including in medicine and construction.

Student Mentors

Our university mentors were all young women taking part in a leadership development course run by Queen’s. Women are still in the minority in the EEECS school and sector. Each gave us a brilliant presentation about what inspired them to take up their course of study. They shared lots of tips and advice about choosing subjects and finding support.

They were so enthusiastic after this experience and said they will take a different attitude in relation to selecting their GCSE’s.
Teacher from Trinity School

Learning Points

One learning point was that for “some of the subject areas within the EEECS department you do not have to be really good at Maths and that being curious and logical is just as important.”

The experience made them feel a lot more confident about their potential and their own ability. One of the visiting teachers reported, “They were so enthusiastic after this experience and said they will take a different attitude in relation to selecting their GCSE’s.”

Thank you to Queen’s University Belfast School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for giving #NotJustForBoys a brilliant afternoon. We hope that you will see more girls from Belfast joining as students in the next few years!


Can you help inspire more girls to think about career options?

Although we can’t currently organise trips out, we are busily planning experiences which will work online.

If you can provide an inspiring virtual visit or activity which could encourage girls to consider a career in a non-traditional sector, please get in contact with the #NotJustForBoys Programme Coordinator, Amy Button, on amy.button@womenstec.org.

We are hiring!

Are you passionate about encouraging girls and young women to grasp new opportunities, challenge stereotypes and fulfill their potential?

We are looking for an outstanding individual with the enthusiasm and drive to develop and manage this flagship project.  You will have experience of building productive working relationships with a range of stakeholders and of delivering on project outputs, outcomes and deadlines. 

Responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day development and delivery, you will bring a creative and dynamic approach to all aspects of the programme.

Completed applications must be received by 4pm on Friday 6th December 2019.

Interviews will take place on Thursday 19th December 2019


Completed applications can be posted to: 

Vilma Bisson, Quality Assurance Manager,

29 Chichester Avenue, Belfast, BT15 5EH

Or e-mailed to vilma.bisson@womenstec.org

For full details and an application form please click here.

Outdoor Classroom for Local Primary School

Working collaboratively with Gilbert-Ash Ltd and Our Lady’s Girls Primary School, WOMEN’STEC brought over forty P7 girls together to learn carpentry skills as part of a wider outdoor classroom project. Two P7 classes attended workshop sessions where the girls took part in practical, hands-on activities to gain a deeper understanding and learning of working with wood, along with guided tuition. The P7 girls took part in making furniture from upcycling pallet wood, taking part in activities such as sanding, planing and drilling wood.  The girls loved this experience, led by female carpenters, and the girls’ determination and enthusiasm was outstanding! This project has been a great way to reach girls at a young age, help break down stereotypes and help widen career choice awareness.  It has benefited the school and the children, and resulted in an outdoor classroom for Our Lady’s Primary School, which was officially opened on 16 April 2019. Kelli Johnston, the #notjustforboys Coordinator, commented, “We’d like to thank Gilbert-Ash for inviting us to become involved in this amazing project to help create a dynamic outdoor learning space. The girls loved every minute of their time in the workshop with us, and particularly the hands-on element.  We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to introduce carpentry skills to the girls – this could definitely help steer a young person’s future career choice!” For more information on the #notjustforboys programme, please contact the Coordinator by emailing kelli.johnston@womenstec.org

Civil Engineering Visit Proves Popular

WOMEN’STEC took ten girls aged 14-16 years on a construction site visit to learn about civil engineering by visiting the A6 Randalstown – Castledawson Dualling Scheme. Hosted by Farrans Construction and supported by Buy Social NI, the group learned about civil engineering through the exciting scheme and works in progress.   The girls heard from women working in the industry, finding out about health & safety, planning, civil engineering and construction, as well as environmental considerations. They also had a close up look at some of the equipment used on a civil engineering project of this scale. This site visit is part of a new #notjustforboys programme that WOMEN’STEC is delivering and launching on Thursday, 19th September 2019.  The programme focuses on changing the misconception that construction careers are aimed only at men. Site visits like this help more young women to look at the wide range of career options that the construction industry has to offer them. One of the girls on the scheme said it was the “best summer scheme in the country.” Abbie is now thinking about a job in construction following the site visit to the A6 M22 – Castledawson site. For more information, please contact Kelli Johnston, #notjustforboys Coordinator by emailing kelli.johnston@womenstec.org

Construction Site Visit

WOMEN’STEC Girl Tech summer scheme participants visited the Royal Victoria Hospital new maternity build, to learn about works in progress and to hear from females working in a range of different careers and roles in the construction industry. The visit was attended by fourteen girls on 16 August 2019 and hosted by GRAHAM-Bam Healthcare Partnership (GBHP), a joint venture between GRAHAM and BAM Contractors Ltd. Construction site visits are a regular part of the WOMEN’STEC Promoting Opportunities Programme #notjustforboys and provide a great way to hear from females working in the industry, and promote the diverse range of career opportunities available, from quantity surveying to civil engineering jobs, to a range of trade and technical roles. Attracta Matthews, GBHP Community Benefits Advisor, said: “GBHP has supported WOMEN’STEC in many different ways over the years – from hosting site visits, making regular pallet donations for their joinery classes, delivering careers talks and presentations right through to supporting student achievement events.  In addition to seeing a live construction site, the girls also gained an insight into other aspects of the project such as the community, environmental challenges, human resources and subcontracting. We feel that it is important to inspire and encourage young females to consider a future career in the industry, given the wealth of opportunity that it holds.  That’s why we value the work of organisations such as WOMEN’STEC.” To find out more about our work in promoting a diverse workforce and reducing the skills shortage in the construction and ICT industries, please contact kelli.johnston@womenstec.org