The UK government has announced two employer-led projects that are expected to open up new routes into engineering for women and help them hone their skills to advance in engineering careers.
The first programme will train 100 women to support their return to engineering after a break in their careers, while the other will train another 80 women engineers to help them advance their careers.
“To keep the UK at the forefront of engineering innovation we need the skills of the whole population, and that is why it is vital to capitalise on the contribution of women to the sector,” said skills minister Nick Boles.
The initiative comes in response to Professor Perkins’ review of engineering skills that outlined an “acute skills shortage” in engineering.
“Government should invite employers to put forward innovative proposals to develop engineering skills in sectors suffering acute skills shortages,” it said.
Such projects are expected to create skills programmes for new and former women engineers in a bid to boost the representation of women in the UK workforce.
The two projects will be led by UK-based international engineering consultancies WS Atkins and Hyder Consultancy, which were chosen from a competitive tender under the government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Fund.
“Women, in particular, are hugely underrepresented in the design and engineering sector so initiatives which help inspire, attract and retain talented people or to assist them progress in their careers will make a real and tangible difference,” said Uwe Krueger, CEO of Atkins.
“We know that returning to work after maternity leave or moving to flexible working to accommodate a young family can be a struggle, and by investing in this programme we will make it easier for parents to manage their work life balance and therefore continue their career development.”