Drive to attract more women to
engineering

Emma Johnson, who is among a growing number of young women considering careers in engineering
Emma Johnson, who is among a growing number of young women considering careers in engineering
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A CAMPAIGN to try to attract more women into engineering careers will be launched in the Humber region next month amid continuing concern over the lack of numbers entering the profession.

The Humberside Engineering Training Association will target schools, students, employees and parents with the initiative which will feature open days, engineering taster events, marketing activities and dedicated ‘Girls Into Engineering’ days.

The venture has the backing of Nic Dakin MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skills and Employment, whose Scunthorpe constituency covers HETA’s Foxhills training centre.

Iain Elliott, HETA Chief Executive, said the organisation has trained 22 female engineers since 2010 at its three sites – Foxhills, CATCH at Stallingborough and Copenhagen Road in Hull.

Current female apprentices include former Withernsea High School student Emma Johnson, who is training in renewables at CATCH and spoke at a recent event at Wilberforce College in Hull aimed at encouraging women to become engineers.

But Mr Elliott said more needs to be done.

And he said that more girls than boys choose to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, and often do better than boys in the courses, but are not going on to have engineering careers.

He said: “Between 2012 and 2014 the number of women entering engineering increased by more than 100 per cent but the starting level was very low.

“The UK produces 36,000 fewer engineers than are required by British industry. The evidence suggests that girls outnumber boys in STEM subject choices and also outperform boys in STEM qualifications.

“But many girls are not choosing physics beyond the age of 16, they are losing the opportunity to choose engineering from the age of 18 and only nine per cent of women progress to work in STEM subjects.”

During the first week of September all three of HETA’s sites will host open days aimed at careers advisers and anyone else who helps students make their career choices.

Generic taster days will begin in October and will continue every month until July.

“Girls into Engineering” days will be held in November and February and there will also be an “inspirational women’s week” during which STEM ambassadors will visit schools to talk to students in assemblies.

Nic Dakin said: “I am very keen to support women into engineering. I welcome HETA’s campaign and I look forward to supporting them and helping them to maximise the opportunities to reach as many people as possible.

“Given where we are in the Humber with the opportunities of a lot more engineering jobs we cannot afford for 50 per cent of the population to not to seize that opportunity and the more that can be done to encourage, support and celebrate women into engineering the better.

“When I visited HETA’s Foxhills centre recently and spoke to the apprentices I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of the young women who are coming into engineering and by the fact that they can see the great opportunities to make a difference.”

Over the years there have been several campaigns to try to encourage more women to take up careers in engineering like WISE – the campaign to promote women in science, technology and engineering.