A careers open day, held at the construction site of Belfast Grand Central Station, has brought together 75 female students from five schools in the city for an interactive experience event designed to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) talent.
Farrans Sacyr, the main works contractor for Belfast Grand Central Station, hosted the day in collaboration with Translink, W5, CITB and ConstructTuition ahead of International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June.
The five leading organisations have joined forces to build a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline for the construction sector, with Equality Commission NI figures showing that only 11% of engineers are female.
Year nine students from St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Hunterhouse College, Strathearn School, Victoria College and Methodist College took part in a site tour, an engineering railway challenge, a virtual reality experience, Minecraft, a structural engineering challenge and workshops on sustainability, health and safety and the commercial aspects of running a live project. The event concluded with a selfie competition, sponsored by W5.
Belfast Grand Central Station will deliver a modern, world-class integrated transport hub to enhance local and international connectivity with bus, coach and rail links across Northern Ireland and beyond. It will offer greater capacity with an increase to 26 bus stands, 8 railway platforms, enhanced walking and cycling connectivity, greater comfort and accessibility encouraging greener, active travel for a healthier, smarter city. The Weavers Cross development delivered as part of the project will regenerate the lands around Grand Central Station and facilitate economic growth and urban regeneration.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Tina Black commented: “It’s wonderful to see these young women being encouraged to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. We have an immense amount of talent in our city – and we’ve made a commitment in The Belfast Agenda to help every young person living here to reach their full potential.
“The investment we’ve secured through the Belfast Region City Deal – and the delivery of landmark infrastructure developments like Belfast’s Grand Central Station – are going to help create new and better jobs in these growth areas, so it’s fantastic to see that employers are making concerted efforts to stimulate a more diverse and inclusive talent supply pipeline.”
Lisa McFadden, Translink Programme Manager commented: “This exciting new fully integrated transport hub will represent a step change for public transport. As a fully multi-modal transport facility it will improve connectivity for everyone in Northern Ireland and beyond and act as a highly impressive gateway. It is the largest construction project undertaken by Translink to date, and requires significant engineering works from building and bridge construction, road upgrade works through to extensive railway and signalling works and we have been delighted to showcase this important project to these female students today.
“As an organisation we are committed to actively encouraging more females to apply for transport jobs. Being part of this event is a great opportunity to demonstrate the many opportunities open to females within the engineering and construction side of our business and show how a career in public transport can help play a major part in tackling the climate crisis and enhance air quality, for a healthier, smarter and more sustainable city for everyone”.
Sarah Fearon, Community Engagement Manager for FSJV, said: “A collaborative approach between expert organisations will be critical in encouraging a greater number of female students to realise the endless possibilities for exciting careers in this industry. As part of our work on Belfast Grand Central Station we are committed to delivering a positive lasting impact through events and engagement with local community groups, charities and schools to provide training, apprenticeships and employment.”