“If the UK wants to reach the European average for female engineers then more girls must do physics A-Level. This isn’t just about industry gender balance, it is about helping the UK realise its economic potential. Government, schools, industry and universities must co-ordinate more effectively to help improve female uptake of engineering education” said Dr David Docherty, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.

Jill Shedden, Group Director of HR at Centrica said “Less than 8% of UK engineers are women. If we don’t work together to increase that number, the UK’s potential to lead the world in manufacturing and engineering is weakened.” 

Since 2012, the National Centre’s Talent 2030 project has been tracking the numbers of girls doing GCSE and A-level physics against realistic targets if the UK is to reach European averages. The 2016 Dashboard shows negligible growth in girls on pathway courses to engineering degrees, and there is no sign that the UK is on the right track. Furthermore, there is a real decline this year in the number of UK female engineers.

To help address the problem, the National Centre is running the 5th Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls. To encourage female students to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing, the competition asks them to solve a twenty-first century problem. Open for entries until 6pm on 16th December, the competition winner will be awarded £1000, a female engineer mentor and student membership to the Women’s Engineering Society. 

All finalists are invited to exhibit their entries at the Big Bang Fair, and all winners and runners-up have the exclusive opportunity to visit our sponsor facilities.


The Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls is sponsored by organisations committed to encouraging more women into engineering:
Rolls-Royce, Centrica, PepsiCo.

With support from:

EDT, Engineering Council, Engineering UK, Stemnet, STEM Ambassadors, The Association for Science Education, Wise, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Crest Awards, Women’s Engineering Society, the Big Bang Fair, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, STEM Clubs, National STEM Centre, National Union of Students and Times Education Supplement.

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)

Inspiring universities and business to work together for growth and prosperity.

As a membership not-for-profit organisation, the National Centre brings together leaders from across higher education and business to tackle issues of shared interest.

The National Centre’s Engineering Manufacturing Task Force explored the challenge of maintaining the UK manufacturing base as a strong and vital component of the economy. Talent 2030 is a legacy project from the Task Force report ‘Great Expectations’.

For further information please contact the National Centre on 020 7383 7667

James Lenney, Web & Communications Officer (james.lenney@ncub.co.uk) or

Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications (shivaun.meehan@ncub.co.uk