MP Supports Girls’ Engineering Campaign
“The UTC Sheffield has made a fantastic start in beginning to address the skills shortages across our region. After seeing the excellent facilities, I have no doubt that the girls are in the perfect place for them to develop their skills and to prepare them for successful careers in the engineering and technology sectors.”
Meg Munn MP
Pictured: UTC Sheffield student Sarah shows Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn how to operate a robot.
Girls are being encouraged to consider a career in engineering, science and technology, as part of a new recruitment campaign in the city region.
Yorkshire’s first university technical college for 14 to 19-year-olds in Sheffield wants to encourage more young women to develop those skills to boost their career prospects and fill a regional skills gaps in those sectors.
The move has received support from Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn, who campaigns regionally and nationally on the issue. She said: “The UTC Sheffield has made a fantastic start in beginning to address the skills shortages across our region. After seeing the excellent facilities, I have no doubt that the girls are in the perfect place for them to develop their skills and to prepare them for successful careers in the engineering and technology sectors.”
UTC Sheffield opened on Matilda Street this September. Students complete GCSEs and A Levels as well as technical courses in two specialisms that reflect areas of regional business growth. They are the advanced engineering and manufacturing, and the creative and digital media industries sectors. Currently, 14% of students at UTC Sheffield are girls.
Applications for places for September 2014 at the UTC Sheffield are being accepted now. Find our more by booking a place at the next UTC Sheffield open evening on Tuesday December 17th, or downloading the new prospectus from our website. You can also follow us on Twitter @utcsheffield.
A national report by the Social Market Foundation published in 2013 warns that one in five young people will need to become an engineer if the UK has any chance of rebalancing the skills shortages, and the economy. The UK needs to substantially increase the number of young people taking these subjects at school, argues the report.
The issue is compounded by a shortage of girls going into those sectors. According to a paper published by Engineering UK in 2011, the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in the European Union. Despite the gains that women have made in the workforce, progress has been uneven and STEM disciplines remain overwhelmingly male.
Research by Vision Critical, published in November 2013, suggests that young people are rejecting engineering as a career choice because they don’t know enough about the profession, citing perceptions of it being “boring”, “oily”, “smelly”, “uncreative” and “factory based” – when the options in reality include working in food, clothing, construction, information technology, medicine, energy and electrical engineering.
Nick Crew, Principal of UTC Sheffield, said: “Engineering and technology are essentially about designing, making and creating the innovative products that shape the world we live in whether that’s artificial limbs, fashion and food or medicine, music and computers. They offer a really exciting career choice for girls as well as boys but have historically suffered from an outdated image.”
He added: “Women especially have been traditionally under represented in these sectors. The UTC Sheffield wants to break through those barriers. We are committed to inspiring the next generation of talent and want more of a balance of boys and girls studying with us who will benefit from gaining the qualifications to go into a job, career or into university.”
Meg Munn MP visited UTC Sheffield on Friday November 29, to tour the new facilities, and meet staff and students, and is patron of the Women’s Engineering Society whose mission is to inspire women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders. It was while she was Minister for Women and Equality that the MP became aware of the inequalities that exist in the engineering sector, from the small numbers of girls and young women choosing to study it, to the fall-out of those with relevant qualifications leaving the profession, to the relative lack of women engineers able to act as role models.