Women from across the construction and engineering industry today (23 June 2015) met Transport Minister Lord Ahmad as part of a skills summit supporting Women in Engineering Day.
The event brought together some of the country’s top female engineers from the rail, aviation and construction sector, alongside recent graduates and engineering students from London Imperial College, to discuss how to better harness women’s skills.
Discussions focused on how to overhaul the image of the sector to find ways to encourage more women to select engineering courses at university, and pursue it as an ambitious, successful career choice.
Lord Ahmad, Transport Minister, said:
This government’s investment in world-class infrastructure will create jobs and opportunities across the country, but we need to make use of all available talent to ensure Britain stays on the right track.
Women currently make up a tiny proportion of our surveyors, engineers and construction professionals. We need to overhaul the sector’s image, so engineering and construction are a more attractive career option for women.
A diverse workforce means a more successful workforce, which is why I am backing this campaign.
Rail Minister, Claire Perry is also championing the campaign, giving a speech today to a New Civil Engineer conference on the next 5 years of investment in the rail sector and the importance of supporting women in engineering.
Claire Perry said:
As a woman working in transport, I can tell you it is a brilliant experience. From the delivery of Crossrail to the Intercity Express Programme, these are exciting times.
It is so important that we inspire the next generation of female engineers, building on the hard work of women in engineering today. That’s why this campaign is so vital and I urge more women to get involved.
Latest figures show women make up only 18% of the rail workforce, and around 4% of train drivers and railway engineers.
It’s estimated that 22,000 qualified women have not returned to the engineering sector after a career or maternity break.
The government’s support for the Women in Engineering campaign is part of its long-term strategy to boost the economy and productivity, including creating two million more jobs and three million more people starting apprenticeships over the next 5 years.