We’ve been banging on about it here at DEVELOP3D for some time in various articles and blog posts: we need more female engineers, who currently only account for 7 per cent of the professional engineering workforce in the UK.
A new report by the the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), states, an additional 87,000 graduate-level engineers are needed each year between now and 2020, yet only 46,000 are being produced.
The release goes on to demonstrate that 16 is the critical age at which women are lost to a potential career in engineering: this is the point at which far more women than men make A-level and vocational subject choices that close off pathways into careers in engineering.
Entitled Women in Engineering: Fixing the talent pipeline, it suggests that choices made at 16 are based on attitudes and perceptions about engineering that have been formed over many years.
Engineering is still seen as a career for ‘brainy boys’. Teachers, careers guidance, work experience and families do not do enough to counter this view, and are sometimes they are guilty of perpetuating it.
This last point was actually a subject of a recent comment piece where we discovered that some parents didn’t actually want their daughters to pursue a career in engineering. So, in some instances, it’s about educating the parents too.
According to the IPPR, the key to getting more women into engineering is to make it an attractive option for girls from an early age. A number of recommendations are highlighted in the report as to how to go about this.
To read the full report on the IPPR website click here.
One employer who is already trying to change outdated perceptions of engineering and encourage more young women to consider engineering and manufacturing careers is Jaguar Land Rover.
It launched its Young Women in the Know initiative which is a week-long programme open to all students from current Year 11 and above who have a genuine interest in engineering and live in the Midlands.
During the week commencing 27 October 2014 students will visit Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing, design and engineering sites, meet female apprentices, graduates and managers and participate in work placements.
Jaguar Landrover are still accepting applications for this week, so if you have a daughter or friend who make be interested, download the application form here.