University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) recently hosted an Aviation Engineering Industry event at its IQ building in Swansea, with a particular focus on women in aviation to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).
The event aimed to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, and it was supported by a range of industry-leading companies and organisations, including MADE Cymru, Metal Seagulls, Haverfordwest Airport, Pembrokeshire College, Aerospace Wales, Fly Wales, and Pembrokeshire Council.
Patricia’s inspiring story
Patricia Mawuli Porter OBE, an engineer and co-owner of light aircraft company Metal Seagulls, headlined the event. Patricia’s inspiring story began in a village in Ghana where she first discovered her passion for aviation. Despite being turned down at first because of her gender, her determination eventually got her a job at Kpong Airfield in Ghana.
Now a mother and company-owner, Patricia provides internships and work opportunities to local people through Metal Seagulls. She is the first female Ghanaian certified pilot, aircraft engineer, teacher, and trainer and the only female qualified to build Rotax Aircraft Engines.
Speaking about her experience at the event, Patricia said, “It is always a pleasure to share my passion for STEM, young people, engineering, and aviation. The UWTSD presentations for IWD 2023 were exceptional.”
Carys Williams shares her journey in STEM
Carys Williams, a UWTSD electrical/electronic engineering graduate who now works for Metal Seagulls, also spoke at the event about her journey as a woman in STEM. Carys emphasised the importance of encouraging young people to realise that STEM is essential to our daily lives. She believes that young people who do not conform to the “norm” will be the ones breaking barriers for future generations.
Major Rosette Clarke-Morton impressive military experience
Major Rosette Clarke-Morton, who has been in the US military for 16 years, shared her journey at the event, which has taken her around the world, deployed in support of military operations. She has enjoyed a multifaceted career working in intelligence, security, aviation, and law enforcement. Major Clarke-Morton is currently assigned to the 14th Signal British army Regiment as a Senior Exchange Officer in Brawdy, Pembrokeshire.
Flight Lieutenant Jack DeSchoolmeester and the Red Arrows
Flight Lieutenant Jack DeSchoolmeester gave a presentation about working as an engineer for the Red Arrows, one of the world’s premier aerobatics display teams. He highlighted the importance of encouraging young adults to engage in STEM and was delighted to have been
able to represent the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows in Swansea, his hometown.
Breaking down barriers in aviation
The event explored universal themes of breaking down barriers to achieve success and highlighted some achievable career pathways for the students and young people in attendance. It was part of a series of events across West Wales celebrating the aviation industry, including a competition run by Haverfordwest Airport for International Women’s Day.
MADE Cymru’s commitment to supporting women in manufacturing
MADE Cymru’s involvement in this event is a testament to its commitment to supporting women in manufacturing. MADE Cymru is EU-funded via the Welsh Government, and it champions the upskilling of manufacturers in Wales. By supporting events such as the Aviation Engineering Industry event, MADE Cymru is helping to inspire the next
generation of women in STEM and manufacturing. MADE Cymru’s support for events like this is part of its broader mission to support the growth and development of the manufacturing industry in Wales by working with businesses to upskill their employees and promote innovation.
Lisa Lucas on the importance of raising awareness
Lisa Lucas, Head of MADE Cymru at UWTSD, “Raising awareness of women working in STEM and manufacturing is crucial in breaking down barriers to increase the female workforce in all areas, but particularly in those where the deficit endures,” she said. “We are pleased to support initiatives that promote diversity and innovation in the manufacturing industry. Things are changing, and we are committed to ensuring that women are part of this positive change.”
Since attending the Airport as part of the competition, schools have been in touch regarding follow-up visits, and some of their pupils are now displaying a keen interest in STEM.
MADE Cymru’s support for this event is part of its broader commitment to supporting women in manufacturing and promoting innovation in Wales. By collaborating with businesses, organisations, and universities, MADE Cymru is making a real difference in helping to inspire the next generation of women in STEM and manufacturing. Initiatives such as these can help break down the barriers that have traditionally held women back in these fields and promote a more diverse and innovative workforce.