Women in engineering
Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:53

woman engineeringWith more women studying engineering than ever before Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has applauded the Queensland Government's $10 million university scholarship program to support women in male-dominated professions.

QUT Executive Dean of Science and Engineering Professor Martin Betts said while female enrolments in engineering still lagged behind those of males, more women were choosing to study engineering and particularly to go on to postgraduate study.

"At QUT we're experiencing a healthy increase in the numbers of women enrolling in engineering," he said.

"We know only too well that scholarships make an enormous difference to attracting students into courses and helping them complete. We have seen this through the 10 women in engineering scholarships we have supported in recent years and the very active engagement we have had for years with Power Engineering Bursaries.

"This week QUT students secured 36 of the 100 Queensland Students for the Future first-year student scholarships, sponsored by the Queensland Resources Council. Also three of our female avionics students, Rhianna Ferguson, Elizabeth Roy and Chelsea Redman have secured internships with Boeing enabling them to work on leading-edge research projects."

Professor Betts said that in 2008 women accounted for 10.9 per cent of engineering enrolments and this year the figure had risen to 13.4 per cent.

"More women are undertaking postgraduate engineering study and currently 21.18 per cent of our postgraduate engineering students are female," he said.

"A degree in engineering is virtually a passport to a fantastic job be that within the mining, energy, transport or construction industries."

Professor Betts said QUT had been keen to attract female students to the faculty and had held a Power of Engineering event on International Women's Day which saw 130 year 9 and 10 female students from 11 Brisbane schools on campus for engineering workshops, information sessions and site tours.

"This event was so popular that we already have 100 students on the waiting list for a further event at QUT during Engineering Week in early August," he said.

"Activities, such as Power of Engineering events help spread the word that engineering is a fabulous profession for women as well as men and the State Government's decision to fund a $10 million scholarship program will help generate further interest."

He said QUT offered student engineers top-class facilities and real-world learning.

"Our strong links with industry ensure students get the practical experience they need while they pursue their studies and our state-of-the-art teaching and research centre will be second to none when it's completed later this year."

The $230 million Science and Engineering Centre will bring together teaching and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a world-leading model and dynamic community hub.

The Queensland Government has announced 500 scholarships of up to $20,000 over four years would be available to encourage women to enrol in male-dominated programs such as engineering and the physical sciences.