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Star funds African women in STEM initiative

UK: Glasgow-based Star Refrigeration is funding the places of five Africans in an initiative to showcase women in STEM and inspire young children in the UK, Europe and Africa.

Star is helping to fund access to Stemazing, the international training programme to empower women working in science, engineering and technology and inspire the next generation.

The Stemazing Inspiration Academy is the brainchild of StemazingKids CIC, a not-for-profit community interest company, focused on inspiring our next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. It was founded by Alexandra Knight, a chartered engineer and fellow of the IMechE.

The academy is designed to support women working in STEM industries around the world and help promote the careers on offer to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists. The programme will provide female participants with the skills and confidence to deliver a series of engaging STEM workshops for primary school children.

The initiative has already attracted sponsorship from World Refrigeration Day, Amey, Brunel University London and Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Role models

The additional funding support from Star guarantees places for five women from Africa on the Stemazing programme. The selected participants are refrigeration and air conditioning engineers working across African continent, who will gain the skills and confidence to become role models for local school children.

Steve Gill, head of the World Refrigeration Day secretariat welcomed Star’s involvement. “There is no doubt that without this additional funding, we would not have been able to offer training to empower these women and reach school children in Africa. This is a real, tangible, monumental step change for our industry,” he said.

Star ambassadors

Two of Star’s female engineers have also joined the programme. Design engineer Sophie Hoggan, from Star’s Glasgow branch and Brooke McKenna, a chemical engineering graduate who completed three internships with the company whilst studying at the University of Strathclyde, are looking forward to completing the Stemazing programme and becoming ambassadors for the refrigeration industry.

After recently taking part in the Stemazing Inspiration Academy’s first online training session, Star Refrigeration design engineer Sophie Hoggan said: “It was great to see so many women taking part, who are eager to spread the message about what amazing industries engineering and science really are.”

Colleague Brooke McKenna added: “Many young children might not have a female role model in a STEM career within their immediate family or close circle of friends. The Stemazing Inspiration Academy will allow us to show them that there are no boundaries to the type of career girls can pursue in the future.”

Webinar training

A total of 45 female STEM professionals will take part in the Stemazing Inspiration Academy webinar training programme, which runs from March to June 2021. The selected participants will benefit from expert coaching in communication and presentation skills, enabling them to shine when they deliver inspiring STEM workshops for school children.

After completing their online training, each Stemazing ambassador will link up with a local primary school to deliver a six-week series of interactive STEM workshops. The Stemazing Kids Club sessions will give children aged 5 to 9 years the opportunity to engage in simple and fun STEM-based activities.

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