NETWORK Rail invited pupils from local high schools to see first-hand the bridge work at Kerse Road in Stirling, to mark International Women in Engineering Day.

Fourth and fifth year students from Wallace, Stirling and St Modan’s high schools participated in the event which aims to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the range career opportunities available within the industry.

Through presentations, discussions and practical activities, led by female staff from Network Rail and contractor Morgan Sindall, the students were given an insight into the demolition and reconstruction work at Kerse Road, the diverse engineering disciplines involved and the different routes that can be taken for young women entering the industry.

Pupils were also challenged to test their skills in a practical exercise by building a bridge structure from everyday objects.

Mhairi Mackenzie, Network Rail’s senior sponsor for the Kerse Road bridge project, said: “For any modern work place or profession to thrive having a diverse workforce is crucial, as this can only help to further drive creativity and innovation.

"Our message to the students today is that young women have a valuable contribution to make to our industry and there are no barriers to stop them from achieving their ambitions.

“We are greatly encouraged by the engagement with and feedback from the students today and I am confident that several of Network Rail’s engineers of the future will have started to consider this as a career having taken part in our workshop today.”

Initially launched as National Women in Engineering Day in the UK in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society, the event received UNESCO patronage in 2016, before becoming ‘International’ last year due to increasing global interest and participation, with 150 separate events being held to highlight the range and diversity of engineering opportunities for women.

The work at Kerse Road bridge is part of a wider programme of activity on the Stirling line ahead of the electrification of the route as part of a Scottish Government-funded investment being delivered by Network Rail.