Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Inspiring the next generation with Tolu

At CIEC we are all about breaking down stereotypes so that ALL children know that there is a place for them in STEM careers if they choose.  We know that there is still important work to do in this area as can be seen in the work done by Inspiring the Future.  If you haven't yet seen their video 'Redraw the Balance' please stop what you are doing and watch it now!
 'Redraw the balance' shows that gender stereotypes are embedded by the age of 7.

An important aspect of showing children know that they too could work in STEM are the STEM professionals that we work with who provide children with diverse role models and show them that science and engineering can be a worthwhile career whatever your gender or ethnicity.

Tolu is one of the ambassadors that we work with in the Royston area.  She recently told our advisory teacher Clare Docking

 CIEC does great work, and I am proud to be associated with this organisation! The opportunity to showcase the work that I do as an engineer to an ever so curious and brilliant audience is something I relish and have found to be helpful in refining skills such as public speaking. Being able to give real life context to the children on some of the concepts they learn about in the classroom is something I find enriching. Not only does this help to demystify myths about STEM, but it also raises their awareness of the career prospects, and the role STEM plays in everyday life.

Tolu outside number 10 Downing Street

Tolu told Clare that she became interested in maths, physics and chemistry at school and knew from a very young age that she wanted to work in the world of science. Her parents encouraged her to take an interest in the sciences when growing up. However, others were concerned about her becoming a female engineer.  Fortunately, Tolu had the opportunity to visit local industry during work experience where she met a range of people in scientific roles and decided that she would like to become a Chemical Engineer. 

She knew that there was a place for women in engineering due to meeting some brilliant female engineers.  Even so, she is often the only female on the team and would really like to see more females in engineering and a greater ethnic diversity, particularly in leadership positions. Tolu enjoys her job very much saying that it is a very varied role and once trained you can work in many different sectors. She feels that she is making an important contribution to society and is doing a valuable job.

Tolu knows that her work as an ambassador for Children Challenging Industry is very important, commenting 

Although these children are still in the early stages of their education, I see it as an opportunity for a company to invest in the continuity of their talent pipeline. Beyond this is the possibility of young people, who as a result of being exposed to the industry feel empowered to pursue a career in STEM.

We would like to thank Tolu for taking the time to inspire the next generation.  If you would like to find out how CIEC could help the children in your school please contact us on ciec@york.ac.uk