National Apprenticeship Service opinion: opportunities for women in engineering
10 Aug 2011
A growing number of women are now forging careers in engineering through apprenticeships, and the National Apprenticeship Service is working with training providers and employers to encourage more women to take this route.
West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield is hoping to recruit 150 female engineering apprentices by March 2012. The college will be holding industry and enterprise days to raise the profile of engineering careers among young women. Successful women from engineering careers will act as role models.
Leanne Cooke, who has worked for tram operator Nottingham Express Transit (NET) since last August, said more women should consider following in her footsteps. She is currently working towards an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in engineering and says: "I was the only women to be taken on at the time. I'm now enjoying a career where I can progress and I've seen other woman in engineering roles I can aspire to."
Another provider championing women in engineering is Middleborough training organisation the TTE Technical Training Group. Its female engineering forum hosts a number of events, including the aptly named 'Girls Allowed', which are designed to help increase awareness of apprenticeships as a valid and high quality route into an engineering career.
One of Teesside's leading business woman and a trailblazer for the region's process industry is Jane Atkinson, Vice President Utilities Operations at Sembcorp UK, she says: "Things are changing, with more women coming into the industry. Young women now see this as an industry with good earning potential and role models are starting to emerge which means girls are thinking 'if they can do it, so can I.'
"People's perceptions of the industry have also changed. We need good people with great problem solving, trouble shooting and computer skills and with the growth of the renewables sector, engineering is definitely becoming more sexy – it's an exciting industry that people want to be a part of."
When Jane started out in the industry the sites she worked on didn't even have a ladies toilet or women's overalls. That infrastructure is now in place, which makes things easier. But Jane says there is still work to be done to boost the number of female workers in the engineering sector.
"Only 6% of my workforce are women, but things are changing. Awareness of what the industry can offer is getting down to school level. We have some terrific female apprentices on site now – young people who aren't afraid to stand up in front of a room full of people and spread the word about the sector they're working in and that's wonderful to see."
Potential female apprentices interested in a career in engineering can start by using the Engineering Apprentice tool. It includes a quiz to complete first and then lots of resources, which include a personalised feedback report and videos of engineering apprentices talking about their experiences.
http://engineeringadvice.apprenticeships.org.uk/ and apprenticeships.org.uk
National Apprenticeship Service
Sembcorp Utilities UK Ltd
This material is protected by Findlay Media copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact
the sales team.