At the present moment just 8% of engineers in the UK are women, which is the lowest level in Europe. This finding led to the launch of the Great Expectations report, out of which the Talent 2030 competition was born, which outlines the need and demand for more female graduates in manufacturing, technology, engineering and computing industries.
The report explains why businesses are crying out for high-quality engineers, technicians and manufacturing business leaders and how the Target 2030 challenge of increasing the number of women studying physical and formal sciences at school and university will help attract and retain them in the MTEC labour force.
Working very much towards this goal is the recently started STEMLab building at Loughborough University. The facility, which is being built in partnership with construction and civil engineering company Henry Brothers, is an £17 million development to allow the University to provide the best facilities for teaching of STEM subjects.
Teaching laboratories for science and engineering, workshops, computer-aided design and rapid prototyping facilities, a design studio and informal learning spaces will all be housed in the building.
STEMLab will also act as a focal point in the community outreach efforts of the University, playing host to events such as the annual Loughborough Engineering Experience for Year 12 students and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Top of the Bench competition.
“I was delighted to be able to get the construction work officially underway today,” said Professor Thomson, who is Dean of Loughborough’s School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering. “STEMLab is a really exciting development, which will allow us to expand our teaching provision in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and broaden the vital role we play in the pipeline supply of skilled graduates to industry.”
The development has been supported by a £5 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) towards the development, and a further £250,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, which will support the delivery of a suite of teaching programmes in bio-science and bio-engineering.
Professor Thomson added: “We are very grateful to both HEFCE and the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support, and are hoping to find more individuals and organisations that want to support and be part of such an exciting development.”
You can find out more about the facility via the video below.