Women seize opportunity to develop engineering careers

Posted on 5 May 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Almost 200 women have completed a training programme to help overcome barriers to career progression in the advanced manufacturing and engineering (AME) sector.

The Women in Work programme ran through the first quarter of this year, seeing female employees from companies including Atkins; BAE Systems; Rolls-Royce; Centrica, and a number of other businesses in the AME sector undertake training to give them the confidence to progress in what is perceived as a male-dominated environment.

Semta, the not-for-profit skills organisation charged with engineering skills for the future, delivered the project which was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Chief executive of Semta, Ann Watson commented: “Engineering UK report that between 2012 and 2022 engineering companies will need to recruit 2.56m people, 257,000 of these will be needed to fill new vacancies.

“Nearly a third of the job openings are forecast to be filled by women, rising to half for all new jobs created in the sector, so getting girls taking STEM subjects and into industry is a top priority.

Ann Watson, chief executive, Semta.
Ann Watson, chief executive, Semta.

“Even then we have the challenge of getting more women into management positions, to become role models for others to follow in businesses where flexible working is seen as a positive rather than a burden.

“The women along with their employers who have taken advantage of the Women in Work funding and training have given overwhelmingly positive feedback. It is vital we have more women role models within the sector to mentor female colleagues and encourage more girls into STEM careers.”

Since Women in Work funding was first introduced in 2006, almost 3,000 women in the AME sector have benefitted.

Of the 192 who have participated so far this year – 58% cited career progression as the key driver for embarking on the Women in Work training.  Progressing into management was also an aspiration by 20% of the participants.