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Cumbrian engineers aim to export engineering enthusiasm to Singapore

L-R: Sophie Dent, Lauren Eastburn and Beth Howarth-Henry

A team of engineers from Barrow who successfully launched a badge aimed at highlighting engineering as a career among Girl Guides are set to export the idea to the Far East.

The Clever Cogs Challenge Badge has been hugely successful with over 20,000 badges completed since it was released in 2017. Now the team are preparing to launch a new badge for Girl Guides Singapore called She Solves, which includes many of the initial activities of Clever Cogs along with new activities .The badge will be launched by the trio in Singapore next week aimed at appealing to over 8,000 Girl Guides in the country.

As well as engineering, the project will also focus on Cyber Security and encourage girls to learn the basics of computer programming and coding.

Sophie Dent is one of the team of three female engineers from BAE Systems behind the scheme and says she’s confident it will make an impact in Singapore: “We want to educate, inspire and open up the world of engineering to let girls know the wide range of options available to them.”

Using innovative experiments ranging from creating a parachute to land an egg safely, to deciphering a code using a cipher wheel, the sessions will be lively, thought provoking and above all, fun. BAE Systems Submarines division along with the company’s Applied Intelligence colleagues have worked together to support the initiative.

Beth Howarth-Henry, who as well as working as an engineer is about to enter her final year studying for a degree in mechanical engineering, says the event will challenge the perception of engineering as a career: “We start with a quiz which asks what the image of engineering among those taking part is. At the end of the sessions we ask the same questions and the image has usually changed significantly.”

She added: “When we were at school engineering as a career option wasn’t widely promoted – I almost became a vet – so anything we can do to share our interest in this area and really pass on our enthusiasm has got to help.”

The trio fly out to Singapore this weekend. She Solves has already caught the attention of the UK government, with the foreign secretary’s wife, Lucia Hunt, visiting the AI office in Singapore to learn more about the She Solves programme. The Singapore-United Kingdom Partnership for the Future initiative aims to build on historic links by celebrating shared achievements and looking to the future through the launch of new collaborative initiatives.

Lauren Eastburn – the third member of the engineering trio from Barrow – says female role models will be promoted during the visit in the hope it will leave lead a lasting impression and encourage students to consider a career in engineering long after the She Solves Badge is launched.

The project has been sponsored by BAE Systems Safety Health and Environment director, Ian Burns: “I’m delighted the project has taken off in the way it has. Clever Cogs was a brilliant initiative and to be able to build on this and take our expertise to the other side of the world to create ties in Singapore is really inspiring. She Solves has got the potential to change lives and if Sophie, Beth and Lauren can help start a change their efforts will be rewarded in years to come.”

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