New figures project that there will be a major skills shortage in the science, technology and engineering profession by 2022. With trends in STEM education showing so many women aren’t taking up opportunities in the sector, it’s becoming increasingly apparent engineering can no longer be seen as ‘jobs for the boys’. But how can more women be encouraged into engineer training?
Girls & STEM: The state of play
As it stands, statistics for state schools show that, nationally, in over half of our A Level Physics classes there is not a single girl. In order to inspire more women into engineering – and secure the UK’s economic growth – it’s vital girls are encouraged to take STEM subjects into further and higher education. As it stands, only 7% of qualified engineers are female, with an even lower number going on to engineering apprenticeships.
Popular culture plays a significant role in making many women believe engineering isn’t for them. In television and film, scientists, architects and engineers tend to be depicted as male. However, with new technologies evolving the industry all the time, jobs are rapidly diversifying, debunking the myth that engineering is only about muddy building sites. The development of new composite materials, genome sequencing, plus an increase in demand for renewable energy mean there are a plethora of fascinating new jobs in the sector. Furthermore, new legislation is clamping down on advertisers enforcing gender stereotypes, so more girls can see women in engineering represented in the media.
Inspiring women and girls
Many schools are more than aware of the advantages of encouraging women into engineering. Organisations like The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering have partnered with schools to encourage girls to take STEM A Levels by holding events to introduce Year 11s to women in engineering. Furthermore, A Levels aren’t the only route into this exciting and dynamic profession. Engineering apprenticeships form a more hands-on route and one that is increasingly attractive to less academic pupils, or those who have left formal education.
With so many new initiatives and opportunities for women in engineering, the future is looking brighter. For more information about our apprenticeships, contact TTE today.