In an aim to increase diversity and inclusion in engineering, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been awarded £100,000 for a creative project.Advertisement
The new Diversity Impact Programme by the Royal Academy of Engineering gave funding to UCLan’s Entrepreneurship and Start-up for Engineers (EASE) Zone.
EASE Zone is a new 18-month extra-curricular entrepreneurship and start-up initiative for students in the School of Engineering.
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It was developed to celebrate creativity and innovation in UCLan’s next generation of engineers, especially those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and women.
Bringing together business start-up workshops, expert-led masterclasses, and employer challenges, including network and award celebrations, the scheme hopes to increase the number of underrepresented students who transfer into the engineering profession on graduation.
Emma Speed, director of UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone and Enterprise, said: “It’s fantastic we’ve received this funding as it will allow us to continue the work we’ve started doing to bring together people from across engineering to help them think differently and creatively.
“By sharing their ideas, we really hope in the long-term they will look at becoming entrepreneurs in their own right and set up their own companies.”
The University is one of 11 in the UK to receive the grant through the Academy’s allocation of funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
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Partnered by the Creative Innovation Zone, Propeller and Careers, the main goal of the EASE Zone is to enable and prepare prospective engineers for the challenges of employment and showcase opportunities around them whilst being supported by UCLan academic lecturers and business professionals.
Ric Brame, enterprise manager at the Creative Innovation Zone, said: “The EASE projects have certainly provided students with a taste of the real world.
“They have demonstrated creative thinking, resilience and a good level of maturity when responding to employers’ feedback and requests. It has been a pleasure watching them grow professionally on this learning journey.”
There was interest from 65 students from multiple diverse backgrounds, 25% of which were women and included students from a BAME background; including individuals with multiple disabilities (both physical and learning).
External professional organisations that are currently working with students include Preston-based LED screen company ADI.tv and Bentley Motors Limited.
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Do you think certain demographics are underrepresented in engineering? Let us know in the comments below.