HUNDREDS of talented young women from all over Wiltshire explored the world of engineering at the third Wiltshire College Women in Engineering event, organised by Wiltshire College.

Some 15 schools were represented at the event, held at the Chippenham campus and attended by a host of engineering businesses and educational organisations, all keen to demonstrate the huge range of opportunities available within engineering.

Guest speaker Jessica Kiraly, 24, a flight physics engineer for Airbus, said her job involved calculating loads and aerodynamics on aircraft, making sure they were safe to fly.

"I didn't know about engineering till a careers day at my school," she said. "There are still many misconceptions about what engineering is and we want to engage young people."

She studied aerospace engineering and maths at university and started work at Airbus last year.

"It's exciting work," she said.

Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan attended Women In Engineering and spoke of the importance of inspiring young people to explore engineering.

"When I talk to businesses in the area, I hear there is a real skills shortage," she said.

"The most important thing is to break down barriers and open things to everyone.

"This is fantastic, and so hands on. Students can see it for themselves, the women involved with the stands. It's really empowering."

Amanda Burnside, principal of Wiltshire College, said around 300 pupils were attending the event.

As well as Airbus, a challenge around manufacturing and lean engineering was offered by Apetito, while Bioquell UK Ltd offered an activity exploring biological engineering and applied science called Hogwarts House of Horrors.

Civil Engineers Jacobs had a stand with a road construction challenge, in which students had to build a road while considering wildlife, archaeology and floods.

The Network Rail stand had a Ping Pong Express Game to test ingenuity to avoid derailing your train, while TH White offered a taste of engineering with an activity to design and develop a bridge out of marshmallows and spaghetti.

Zircon Software set up a challenge called Bot Balloon Burst Battle, in which pupils used Scratch to code a bot to attack an opponent and be the first to burst their balloon before they burst yours.

Wiltshire College and University Centre set up a number of stands, including one for motorsport engineering, for agricultural engineering and electrical engineering.

Marlborough St John's student Tilly Mercer, from year 10, said: "It's very interesting. The jobs are a lot different to what I was expecting. "

"I didn't realise there were so many jobs in engineering," said year 10 student Jenna Adams.