So what can the sector really offer the next generation of women engineers?
Recruiting women in STEM If you love solving problems, are fascinated with learning how to make things work and work better, engineering could be an excellent career choice for you.
Long term prospects for the engineering sector are excellent, so studying or training in this industry could lead you to a career that’s in demand and has high earning potential.
The lack of female engineers
When it comes to engineering as a profession, less than a quarter of our enquiries about this sector are from young women and only 10% of calls from parents/carers about engineering are on behalf of young women.
This suggests that not all young women are aware that engineering offers fantastic opportunities for creative and articulate young people with salaries well above the UK average.
An ageing workforce in this sector means skilled professionals are being lost, creating a need for highly skilled young people to replace them. And engineering is important for the economy. Recent industry research also suggests that employers find many vacancies hard to fill due to skills shortages, including project management, team working and communication.
Now is the time for women engineers
Women able to offer these skills could lead to an increase in the proportion of women working in science and engineering above its present level of 23%. WISE, Stemettesa and the Women’s Engineering Society are inspiring young women to address the gender imbalance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
As well as a variety of entry routes and job roles available, progression in an engineering career offers fantastic opportunities for young women to maximise their earning potential, travel and work all over the world and to become ambassadors for the industry.
There are a wealth of opportunities for talented young women to inspire and encourage future generations of female engineers as role models. Major engineering companies not only take a positive approach to nurturing young female talent but with a global base, can offer the opportunity to work on projects in exciting locations such as the Middle East, North America and Asia.
How do I get into a career in engineering?
There are a variety of routes into engineering for anyone considering their options post GCSE, from work-based training to full time study, so it’s a career that can be tailored to suit your needs.
Whichever route you take, maths and science skills are important so you need to make sure that you are sufficiently strong in these subjects if you’d like to make a career in this area.
Good GCSE passes (A*-C) in English, maths and at least one science subject are qualifications that most employers and learning providers need as a starting point.
If you haven’t got the GCSE passes that you need then further study or work preparation training such as a Traineeship could help you to get there.
Traineeships provide the essential work preparation training, maths and English skills and work experience needed to get an Apprenticeship or other job.
You will need to decide if an Apprenticeship or further full time study is right for you.
Become a female engineer
Apprenticeships are a popular route into the engineering sector, with big name employers regularly recruiting. Apprentices typically spend three to four days a week working for an employer and the remainder of the time at college, studying towards relevant qualifications.
As well as enjoying the benefits of enhanced wages and a defined career path, opportunities for apprentices in the engineering sector are on the increase, according to recent research from Engineering UK. According to the research, to compete effectively in the worldwide market, the number of advanced engineering Apprenticeships needs to be tripled to around 69,000 a year on average, with demand for skills at Higher National Certificate level or higher set to double.
What’s more, long-term prospects for apprentices are extremely encouraging; with recent research from City and Guilds indicating that one in five employers currently have former apprentices working at board level.
Sector wise, there’s even more encouraging news, with 43% of employers in the manufacturing and engineering sector employing former apprentices at Director level.
The demand for higher level skills in employees together with the forecast growth in the engineering sector overall to 2020 means that choosing an engineering Apprenticeship can boost your career prospects.