In recent months, we’ve talked about the lack of supply for the engineering resource demand, and the reasons why there’s a lack of females in the engineering industry. Unfortunately, both these facts are still true, although women are being urged more to join the engineering industry.
Rolls-Royce apprentice Jessica Bestwick is urging young women to apply for this year’s Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year prizes – Jessica herself won one of the awards in January for her ground-breaking work with aircraft engines. The purpose of the awards is to promote the engineering industry to young women by raising the profile of remarkable female engineers, and emphasising that engineering is a diverse and exciting industry that provides creative and challenging careers.
The reasons behind this encouragement of the engineering industry are important. It is predicted that there will be a required 1.82 million people with engineering skills by 2022 – that’s only 7 years away, and if the lack of women in engineering continues, finding this huge amount of people becomes considerably harder. Getting more women into engineering may be a tough task considering only 6% of engineering professionals in the UK are female, which is the lowest amount in the whole of Europe, and only 7% of parents in the UK would encourage their daughters to become engineers.
Jessica believes her apprenticeship will lead to her becoming an engineer:
“I learned so much on my apprenticeship so to be recognised with the 2014 IET Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices was a real honour. My experiences so far have given me a good basis for developing myself so I can become an engineer.”
Apprenticeships are certainly a good way to get into engineering, but there is a lack of apprenticeships in the UK, and Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, believes if apprenticeships were to increase, then the economy would benefit:
“Apprenticeships becoming more embedded in our culture can only be a good thing as they allow employers to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce, whilst at the same time improving employability prospects for the younger generation.”
Close Brothers Group has now instigated the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme, and has pledged that they will contribute to the cost of apprentices for 60 SMEs in the engineering and manufacturing industry over a three-year period.
Moves like this are a positive step to meeting the need for engineers, particularly young female engineers. There are great stories out there about impressive young females in the engineering industry, including the story of Antonia-Lee Walker, a 25 year old women who works for ElringKlinger in Teesside, and is already building a successful career in the engineering industry and believes in the importance of women in engineering:
“I think it’s important that more women pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing, and that companies recognise young females’ interest in the industry – something that I felt ElringKlinger (GB) understood.”
Although there are obviously more steps that need to be taken, stories like Antonia’s and Jessica’s demonstrate what can happen when females’ interests in the engineering industry are recognised and encouraged. We hope that both apprentices and females in the engineering industry increase, as the more people in the engineering industry, the better!
For all those engineering contractors that don’t want to worry about accountancy and administration tasks, that’s where ICS can help. To find out more, please phone 0800 195 3750, or talk to us on our chat box.