Government joins forces with industry to get more women into engineering

The Government has announced two new employer-led pilot projects which will open up new routes into engineering for women and increase their potential to advance in engineering careers.

The two projects will be run by British-based global engineering consultancies WS Atkins and Hyder Consulting. The £208,000 of joint Government and employer funding will create new skills programmes for new and former women engineers and improve the representation of women in their UK workforces.

Skills minister Nick Boles said: “With UK manufacturing on the up and major upgrades to our transport links and infrastructure underway, there’s been no better time to enter an engineering career.

“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. I’m delighted to see WS Atkins and Hyder Consulting lead by example, and urge other employers to do the same.”

The two companies were chosen from a competitive tender under the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Fund, which provides a fast and simple grant offer for businesses. The projects receiving funding are:

· WS Atkins to support the training of 100 women to level three qualifications to aid their return to engineering after a break in their careers

· Hyder Consultancy to support the training of 80 female engineers up to level four (degree equivalent) standards to help them advance their careers

Professor Dr Uwe Krueger, chief executive Officer of Atkins said:“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. 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.”

The “Women in Engineering” Fund is a part of the Government’s response to the November 2013 Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, which noted the positive impact an increasing base of engineers would have on the UK economy. It is a part of the wider Employer Ownership of Skills Fund, which offers support for companies to improve the skills of their existing and future workforces through a 50 per cent cash match.

Continuing that commitment, the Government is currently receiving applications for a new Employer Ownership of Skills Fund helping small and medium sized firms in the engineering sector grow and become more productive through investing in the skills of their current and future engineers.

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