'Zoella of Engineering' - quite the title to live up to. Big shoes to fill. Well, a cute petite girl's small and stylish shoes, but that doesn't have quite the same ring. Zoella's a household name with a fanbase hanging on her every word, and I'm a molehill to a Zoella mountain, but I'm gonna give this 'spreading the word' thing a shot anyway.
Tomorrow's Engineers want to see more young people in engineering. I want to see more girls in engineering. And when I say engineering, I mean all types of engineering. A whole lotta stuff comes under that umbrella.
Research from the Your Life campaign to encourage people to take maths and physics A Levels, shows that a quarter of young girls look up to YouTubers - Zoella in particular. Therefore, it makes sense that we need to think about how we can use vlogging to spread the word about the engineering behind the brands, rather than the brands themselves.
So, I've been asked to become a Vlogger for Tomorrow's Engineers Week, a yearly campaign run by EngineeringUK. And it's going to be my job to help big-up engineering and show people what engineering means in the 21st century.
Why me? Well, I'm probably not your stereotypical representative of engineering. The image of me accompanying the press release of my role this week has even been likened to the dancing girl emoji. Does this compromise my interest in physics, or my fascination for what's really going on up there beyond the night sky? I mean c'mon, nobody 'takes physics as a filler subject', to quote my (female) physics teacher. It's tough, but mesmerising.
Sidenote: How can you NOT be interested in astrophysics? Like seriously, the answer to our very existence is out there somewhere, and if that isn't enough to reel you in, then I don't know what is. The lovechild of science and philosophy is beautiful. As is the lovechild of science and art, but that's a whole other topic to delve into another time. While I might not be lucky enough to have my role as #TEWeek15 Vlogger take me to outer space (space station, if you're reading this, holla!), I am going to show you the (metaphorical) nuts and bolts behind the engineering industry. Emphasis on metaphorical: engineering most definitely isn't solely nuts and bolts and elbow grease.
But, back to the problem. Despite engineering being mesmerising and masses of work having been done to promote the engineering sector, more can still be done to show everyone - especially girls - that engineering is a career for them. And that girls, as much as boys, are capable of becoming engineers.
Thing is though, it's important we don't fall into the trap of it being all 'glamour and pink', prettying-up engineering unnecessarily. Yes, the science behind cosmetics and typically 'girly' stuff might reel young girls in (I'll admit I'd like to know what's in the lipgloss I wore for my mechanics lesson), but engineering itself shouldn't need to be glamourised for girls to take an interest.
Science kits for young girls needn't be 'pinked-up'. It's interesting enough sans pink plastic packaging. Sickeningly cliché as it may be to hark back to my childhood, I did have Meccano and Lego, and not a single Barbie. But I did have dolls and a Playmobil dolls' house too (LOVED that thing!). I wasn't pushed in any stereotypically gender-associated direction. Exactly as engineering should be: gender neutral.
So what will I be able to do? Vlogs, behind the scenes tours, interviews with cool people in engineering, we're throwing it all at the campaign with Tomorrow's Engineers. Ask the young girls in your life for their opinion on engineering now, and again after #TEWeek15.
And let us know what questions they (or you!) would like to see answered!
You can follow my vlog at youtube.com/tomorrowsengineers.