IET invests £3m to tackle lack of engineers in industry

The number of female students accepted on to UK engineering degrees has fallen since last year from 42% to 29%.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has today announced that - along with its partners - it is investing £3 million over the coming five years to nurture and support young engineers into industry.

Through its Diamond Jubilee Scholarship programme, the IET has awarded 102 scholarships to UK students who started either an IET accredited Undergraduate or Masters engineering degree course in the autumn of 2015, with 29% of these awarded to female candidates.

However, despite being an increase on the inaugural year figure (19% in 2013), and still way above the number of female students accepted on to UK engineering degrees, the figure has fallen since last year from 42% to 29%.

The IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship: open to all  students who are UK residents hoping to achieve 3 ‘A’s at A Level, 3 ‘A’ grade Advanced Highers, 5 ‘A’ grade Highers or an International Baccalaureate Diploma at 36 points or above, and who are applying to join an IET accredited engineering or technology degree course.

As a result, the IET is specifically calling on girls to apply for the 2016 Diamond Jubilee Scholarship – to receive a package of support that could kick start both their engineering education, and their career.

Now in its fourth year, the IET Diamond Jubilee Scholarship scheme provides each winner with at least £1,000 each academic year.

Winners also benefit from mentoring, work experience placements through the IET’s extensive networks and sponsoring companies, and membership of the IET, in an attempt to close the ever growing skills gap which has increased for the ninth year running.

IET president, Naomi Climer commented: “We’re thrilled to have been able to support young talented engineers for the fourth year in a row – including a large percentage of girls.

Naomi Climer, president, the IET.
Naomi Climer, president, the IET.

“However, with a drop in female recipients since last year, it’s clear to us that more needs to be done to encourage girls into our industry. Currently, just 9% of the UK’s engineering work force is female, so it’s crucial that we continue to inspire female STEM enthusiasts as much as possible to attract them to careers in engineering.

Climer continued: “However, it’s not just women we need – it has been estimated that approximately 87,000 new engineers will be needed each year until 2020 to address the current skills shortage.

“As a result, it has never been more important to encourage young people to study engineering, so that they can have fulfilling and rewarding careers, but also in order to help protect the UK’s economy and status as a world leader in the industry.”

The IET’s investment is being made in collaboration with the Belling Charitable Settlement; the ERA Foundation and The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851; Siemens; BAE systems, and BT.