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Is enough being done to encourage women in engineering?

The Women’s Engineering Society reports that less than 10% of qualified engineers in the UK are female, so one of the questions that has repeatedly been asked is whether the industry is doing enough to encourage females into the engineering profession?

Various research into the industry has consistently found that there is a skills gap in the sector, with fewer qualified engineers entering the profession than needed to meet the opportunities available. All reports over the last five years have echoed the sentiment that an increased effort needs to be made to attract women into the field and to retain them.

With that in mind, the government has increased its efforts with a £30 million fund dedicated to attracting women into the field of engineering. The fund has been used to provide financial support to women looking to progress their careers and return to engineer training following a career gap. The aim of this fund is to move away from the idea that engineering is a man’s field; in fact, women can provide a large and hitherto underutilised talent pool. So, if you are thinking about entering the profession, now is an excellent time.

At the moment, although the number of women in engineering is increasing, there is still a lack of women working at a managerial level. When speaking to many women within the industry, most attribute this to taking time out to have children. However, many women who choose this route determine to work flexible or part-time hours, to enable a better balance of family life. While this hasn’t always fit the executive level needs of a business, many employers nowadays are beginning to see this period in a woman’s life as an opportunity. A woman with children may require flexible hours, but they can also demonstrate loyalty to a company that has given them an opportunity to prove themselves, and many employers are also aware of the diverse life skills parents bring with them to an engineering job.

If you are nervous about getting into engineering, the great news is that the traditional workplace is changing for the better. If you would like to find out more about the engineering apprenticeship and workplace training opportunities available to you, please contact us or browse our website today.

Photo: 2014 Scholar Awards: UC Davis Engineering by UC Davis College of Engineering licensed under Creative commons 2
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