St Marylebone School named winner of 100 Years of Women in Transport debate

02 December 2015

St Marylebone School from Westminster has been named the winner of a nationwide schools debate focussed on the transport industry, organised by Transport for London (TfL) and engineering company Bechtel. The event forms part of the 100 Years of Women in Transport campaign, which celebrates the role of women in the industry. The campaign aims to improve understanding of what it means to have a career in transport and the diversity of opportunities on offer.

In November, teams from nearly 30 schools across the UK debated the impact women working in transport have on society today compared to the 1900s. The top four performing teams were invited to the final held in the House of Lords. The finalists debated two different motions related to the transport industry, with the winning team selected by a panel of judges made up of London's Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, Lord Ahmad, Val Shawcross CBE and Bechtel's Ailie MacAdam.

Cecilia, Taj, Jessica and Megan formed the successful debating team from St Marylebone School and were awarded the winning trophy and medals by Lord Ahmad. The team said they had been preparing for the debate for weeks and although it was "nerve-racking" they were "ecstatic to win the award and glad all the hard work paid off".

Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said: `I would like to congratulate St Marylebone School as the winner of the 100 Years of Women in Transport debating competition. I was impressed with the debating skills of all four finalist teams, who shared with us their perspectives on the history, present and future of the vital role of women in the transport industry.

`This was a great way to celebrate the significant contribution women make to the industry, as well as to generate interest from pupils across the country in the possibilities offered by our industry today. With large-scale projects underway such as Crossrail and future schemes including Crossrail 2 and High Speed 2 set to support thousands of new jobs and homes there has never been a more exciting time to work in transport for girls as well as boys to help us build the transport network of the future.'

Val Shawcross AM said: `I thoroughly enjoyed this event and was hugely impressed by the quality of debating from the young people taking part - I hope all the participants will take away positive memories of their experience in the competition. I also hope that the young women involved will be inspired to pursue a career in the transport industry, and will encourage their friends and peers too. Women have had an integral part to play in London's transport industry for years, and it is important that this is recognised.'

Ailie MacAdam, Regional Manager for Infrastructure, Europe & Africa at Bechtel said: `Witnessing the enthusiasm that we have seen from school children taking part in this competition has been tremendous. Hundreds of young minds have learnt about the wider relevance of the transport industry and the exciting careers it can offer. It is vital that we continue to do as much as possible to encourage a diverse mix of young people to join our industry so that we can meet the challenges of the future with the best talent available.'

Lord Ahmad, Minister for Transport, said: `I was thoroughly impressed by the high calibre of debating skills shown by each team. Through initiatives such as these, we want to encourage girls as well as boys to seek careers in what is an expanding and exciting industry.'

Notes to Editors:

The four school teams in the final debate were -

  • St. Olave's Grammar School in Bromley
  • Sacred Heart RC Secondary School in Camberwell
  • St. Marylebone School in Westminster
  • The Archer Academy in Barnet

The two motions debated by the final teams were -

  • This house believes the bus will still be the most popular mode of transport in 50 years
  • This house believes transport is the solution to managing London's population growth

TfL has joined forces with key players in the transport industry to celebrate 100 Years of Women in Transport including Bechtel, Crossrail, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, the Women's Transportation Seminar and Women's Engineering Society. The centenary is being used to showcase the role of women in transport, share best practice from across the industry and to tackle the challenges that remain.

  • Women make up 47 per cent of the UK workforce and 44 per cent of London's
  • Across the EU, transport employs more than 10 million people and only 18 per cent is female
  • At TfL, women represent 22.8 per cent of the total workforce, 22.5 per cent of senior managers and 15.1 per cent of operational grades
  • Only 6 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK is female
  • Less than 20 per cent of A level physics students are girls and this hasn't changed for 25 years
  • In 2011/12 women accounted for 3 per cent of engineering apprentices.

About Bechtel:
Bechtel, the global engineering, project management and construction company helping to deliver Crossrail. Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. We stand apart for our ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex, or how remote. Bechtel operates through four global business units that specialize in infrastructure; mining and metals; nuclear, security and environmental; and oil, gas, and chemicals. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents. Today, our 58,000 colleagues team with customers, partners, and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 40 countries.

Bechtel has just won the 2015 Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Employer Award for its efforts to improve gender-diversity and encourage students to consider a career in science and engineering.