How did STEM Sussex Begin?
In 2016 Bronagh Liddicoat was made an ICE fellow. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has 90,000 members in more than 164 countries. Of the approximately 5,000 fellows, the highest grade of membership for those who have made a significant contribution to the profession, only around 100 are female. The award was in part as a result of her work with STEM Sussex.
“I am delighted to have the Institution’s recognition of the value of my work with STEM Sussex at the University of Brighton – supporting employers to engage with, and inspire the future generation of engineers.” - Bronagh Liddicoat, Head of STEM Sussex.
Her diverse career began when Bronagh qualified as a Civil Engineer in 1980 and undertook her first role for Tarmac Construction Scotland. Later, she was employed within the maritime and airfield sectors, working for the Property Service Agency.
However, by 1997 Bronagh was based at the University of Brighton and was involved with the ‘getSET’ project which provided outreach by co-ordinating in-company activities for local students to encourage them to consider engineering careers. For Bronagh, this project highlighted the impact and importance of encouraging, motivating and involving the next generation with in-context learning.
Her experiences during this project, and her work with her colleague Helen James, Head of Business Services at the University of Brighton, lead to the creation of STEM Sussex on 17th September 2001, just as the new STEMNET Network was launched.
From a small organisation offering a limited number of outreach projects in a few schools and with a small selection of companies the reach and impact of STEM Sussex has significantly grown. In 2015/16, 48,000 students from schools across the South East and approximately 200 companies engaged with STEM Sussex activities, schemes, events and competitions.
“Recently, my work with STEM Sussex and EngineeringUK in developing the Big Bang Near Me programme in the South of England, has enabled thousands of young people and their teachers to meet scientists and engineers and discover the exciting and rewarding careers.” - Bronagh Liddicoat
Over the course of her career Bronagh has been fortunate to work in multi-disciplinary teams on many varied and interesting projects throughout the world. She credits her work with STEM Sussex as a career highlight and her unrivalled passion to inspire the next generation remains. She offers this message to young people:
“Make a difference to society…address the effects of climate change, improve transportation, develop public health engineering to address the world’s changing needs…So importantly, keep your options open by studying the STEM subjects.” - Bronagh Liddicoat.