The UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in its workforce. Sweden and Bulgaria manage 30%, yet the UK has just 9%. This is clearly not just unfair, but an unforgivable waste of talent.
Last year, the National Centre (as the CIHE) began the Talent 2030 national campaign to explicitly encourage more girls in schools to consider future study and careers in engineering and manufacturing.
Why are there so few women engineers in the UK? And what can be done by schools, colleges, universities, businesses and government to help address this?
Research undertaken with 600 undergraduate women students highlighted three key factors which would encourage more of them to consider work in this field:
- a better understanding of potential earnings
- more focus on the green and sustainable side to engineering
- greater prominence given to women role models already working in industry.
These three messages have been central to our campaign, which has included outreach in schools and policy work with government. Our outreach activity included taking year 9 girls from 10 schools in Coventry and Warwickshire to CERN with the University of Warwick and support from the National Higher Education STEM programme. Watch a video from the trip above.
The National Schools Engineering Competition For Girls 2013
To help engage with a wider number of pupils, teachers and schools the Talent 2030 campaign has launched a National Schools Engineering Competition for Girls, encouraging pupils aged 11-14 and 15-18 to submit their ideas to the simple question, ‘how can engineering solve the challenges of the 21st century?’.
The winning pupils will be given £500 and their school will also be given £500 to spend on equipment. Enter now!
Find out more
Visit the Talent2030 website.
Or leave your thoughts below on ways in which universities and business can work together to encourage more women in the UK to become professional engineers.