Wednesday, 9 March 2016

How The Girl Guides Are Encouraging Girls To Pursue STEM Careers

Andreah Cole - Personal Assistant

WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) is the International Women’s Day charity partner. WAGGGS empowers girls and young women to stand up and speak out on issues affecting them. They provide girls and young women with dynamic, flexible and values-based training in life skills, leadership and citizenship. WAGGGS not only speaks out on behalf of girls and young women to influence people making decisions that improve the lives of girls, but they also empower young women to be advocates.

As a Guide leader I volunteer with girls between 10-14 years old. We cover a wide programme of activities, from adventure sports to performing arts, travel and taking part in community action projects. Our aim is to help girls develop in a safe environment.

The Girls Attitude Survey 2015 reported, “Fewer than one in ten girls aged 7 to 10 would choose a career as an engineer (3 per cent), scientist (6 per cent) or lawyer (6 per cent).” Girlguiding UK is trying to promote girls’ and young women’s interest in male dominated industries. Rolls Royce supported the programme for the science investigator badge as part of their involvement in inspiring and engaging young women in the STEM subjects - Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths - encouraging their potential as future scientists and engineers. Girlguiding UK encourages girls to believe that they can do anything they put their minds to.

In August 2015, I was part of a Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD) project to Malawi. The aim of the 6 year project is to train a team of Malawi Girl Guide Association (MAGGA) members on topics such as leadership, advocacy, first aid and ending violence against women to enable them to lead and develop the organisation to give women more opportunities in Malawi. Equality in Malawi is still a distant dream however, the women we met on our trip were determined to continue the fight. Hopefully some of the skills we taught them and ideas we gave them will enable them to accelerate gender parity for all women in Malawi. 

@wagggs_world @girlguiding #girls can #IWD2016  

Infrastructure and Development needs Women

Genevieve Oller - Senior Marketing Executive

Tuesday, 8 March was International Women’s Day; a day that seeks to recognise and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. Over the past few years there have been a number of initiatives bespoke to the industries that we work in (engineering, infrastructure, construction) that have tried to highlight women’s contribution and, in turn, encourage them to enter these workplaces.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has established The IET Women’s Network, which seeks to “engage with under-represented groups within engineering and technology and support them throughout their career”. They have also introduced the Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards. One of the aims of these awards is to create role models, thereby showing engineering to be a viable career option for the next generation of women entering the workplace. There are a host of other societies and initiatives (Women in Architecture, Women in Transport, Women in Rail, Women in Property, MIPIM Ladies) and awards that seek to highlight and, more importantly, foster women’s contribution.

There is also a very real reason to encourage women to these industries, there are not enough people to build the infrastructure and development projects that London needs;  more people means more money injected into the city (so, it’s win, win!). There are some genuine efforts within major infrastructure projects to employ more female staff. At a recent Temple breakfast briefing, Geoff Loader, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Tideway, discussed the project’s aim to try and get a 50/50 split between men and women on the project. In order to achieve this they have introduced programmes such as Tideway Returner, which offers professionals (predominantly women) who have taken a career break and found it difficult to return to work, a range of internships within Tideway and its delivery partners.

The environmental sector is more fortunate in that for the most part it attracts a more diverse range of people, something I feel we, at Temple, benefit from. Equally, our sister company The Ecology Consultancy, has a high number of female staff. However, what matters here is not numbers but that these are areas of the industry that are seen as viable for women to work in and offer real career prospects. There are certainly efforts to change things within different areas of the industry however, more needs to be done and for some areas change is even more needed than others. I think the education needed here is twofold: firstly, to emphasise the value that women can bring and secondly, position these types of careers for women, showing them how rewarding they can be.

IET kindly allowed us to include their infographic for how women can join the STEM industries;

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Temple BBB (Brown Bag Breakfast): Geoff Loader from Tideway - Wednesday 10th February

Lheah Zorlakkis - Business Development and Marketing Administrator

This month Temple were joined by Geoff Loader, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Tideway. Geoff walked us through the history of the Victorian sewer system that London has relied on for over a century, and the stresses and strains that have led to the proposal of the innovative Thames Tideway Tunnel project. This project aims to 'reconnect London' with the River Thames and to dramatically reduce the amount of overflow that is dumped into the Thames annually.
Geoff was very open in discussing the biggest risks (in his opinion) of project delivery; stating that the consenting work compared with the timescales could very much hinder the project. There are also numerous factors that local communities want addressed, as well as concerns with regard to Health and Safety during construction, on account of its proximity to the river.
Geoff also addressed the major strain that the current infrastructure projects are putting on the industry in regards to skilled workers. As part of the tunnel scheme Tideway will be setting up Thames Skills Academy, dedicated to training apprentices in this specialised field. They have also been very successful with the introduction of a Return to Work scheme, encouraging ex-industry professionals who have been on career breaks to return to work.
Many thanks to Geoff for his presentation and we look forward to the next Brown Bag Breakfast with Chris Porter of TfL.
If you are interest in attending a future Brown Bag Breakfast please contact

Thursday, 7 January 2016

A Change is in the Air: The EIC’s and Temple’s Recommendations of Technologies and Strategies needed to Tackle Urban Air Pollution

Jose Estrada (Graduate Consultant - Air Quality) & Erica Ward (Senior Consultant)

The need to improve air quality in urban areas is one of the most important environmental challenges we face today. Sadly, air pollution and its consequences are increasingly hitting the headlines. From data on the costs of poor air quality, to images of heavily polluted streets in major cities around the world, the issue is now hard to ignore.

In the UK, particulate matter (PM10) limits have been largely met. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) remains a challenge, however, with levels exceeding the EU limits (which should have been met by 2010) in 31 areas in the UK. In May 2015 the UK Supreme Court instructed the government to submit a revised plan to meet these limits by the end of 2015. To add even more complexity to the problem, the scandal of diesel emissions broke out at the same time, further focusing the media’s attention on the issue.

Temple worked with the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) to study the impacts and the economic costs of different alternatives to tackle urban air pollution. The findings of which were presented in the joint report, ‘A clear choice for the UK: Technology options for tackling air pollution’, published at the end of last year. Our goal: to contribute to an informed discussion, based on good quality data, on what options might form part of the solution for the UK. A range of technologies were assessed, including vehicle retrofit and scrappage programmes, electric vehicles and more innovative solutions such as renewable diesel for non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) and photo-catalytic treatments applied to roads to remove pollutants.

The conclusions of our study were clear, there is no single answer to the problem and a range of technologies and strategies will be needed to tackle urban air pollution. Electric vehicles, despite being expected to play an important role in the mid to long-term, are an expensive alternative to improve air quality in the short-term.

In September 2015, the UK Government increased its estimates of damage costs[1] (the cost to society of a change in emissions of different pollutants) to reflect the latest evidence. The new figures make the economic case for adopting many of the technologies evaluated by Temple and the EIC compelling. Acting to reduce pollution will be more cost-effective than dealing with its effects. The new air quality plan for NO2, published in December 2015[2], introduces a programme of Clean Air Zones (similar to London’s Low Emission Zone) where old, polluting vehicles will be discouraged from entering designated urban centres. At the same time, transition to modern cleaner vehicles will be promoted by retrofitting and upgrading transport fleets by looking at approaches to reducing emissions in NRMM, which were identified in the Temple/EIC report as promising measures in the short-term.

While implementation of the new plan is yet to happen, 2015 has been a key year for urban air pollution, showing that as a nation we will need to be ambitious and innovative on all fronts. The UK, and particularly London, will continue to face challenges along the way to improve air quality, urban population growth, major residential developments and massive infrastructure projects (such as High Speed 2, Crossrail 2 or an airport expansion) among others. We think that 2015 was only a starting point in terms of improving urban air quality. At Temple we are proud to be part of the process and are ready to work towards cleaner and more breathable cities. Please join us at our Temple BBB event on Air Pollution abatement on Wednesday 13 January, where we will discuss these and other issues.

For more information on the report, or to attend the breakfast briefing, please call 0207 394 3700 or email

[1] Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) (2015), Air quality economic analysis. Damage costs by location and source. Available at:
[2] Defra (2015), Air Quality in the UK: plan to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions. Available at: