Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Engineering a Way to Get More Women into Industry

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Engineering a Way to Get More Women into Industry

Article excerpt

Byline: KELLEY PRICE @KelleyPrice_gaz

YOUNG women typically "can't identify" with careers in engineering - and they usually know so little about the sector that signing up is a "leap of faith", a female lecturer has claimed.

Engineering firms say women engineers on Teesside could be the ones to help solve a massive skills shortage - after it emerged 265,000 new recruits are needed every year from now to plug gaps left by an ageing workforce.

But a girls' culture of "dolls and make-up" - instead of "Lego, building games and Meccano" from an early age needs to be addressed first - according to one female engineering apprentice on Teesside. Top engineering firms from the area teamed up with Hartlepool College of Further Education to welcome 75 female Year 9 and 10 pupils for an engineering last week.

They want to "proactively change perceptions of engineering as a career" and encourage young girls to enrol on apprenticeship courses.

The day will coincide with International Women in Engineering Day.

Helen Gott, engineering lecturer at Hartlepool College, said: "One of the main issues with young women getting into the engineering industry is that they can't identify with the careers available.

"Many girls that come to us know very little about the different paths that engineering creates, largely because they aren't careers that they can directly relate to.

"Unless they have family members who have worked in engineering roles, they are unlikely to have any knowledge of the sector and enrolling on a course or an apprenticeship is often a bit of a leap of faith."

Northumbrian Water Chief Executive Heidi Mottram said there was challenge for men and women.

"The energy and utilities sectors face a significant future skills gap, with more than 200,000 new entrants to the industry needed in the next ten years," she said.

"We clearly need to do more to encourage female entrants to the industry. This needs to be done at a number of key stages of education, when young people are forming their ideas of different careers, as well as in a way that engages people later in life, inspiring people to consider moving into engineering from other areas. …

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