Today marks International Women in Engineering Day, highlighting the exciting careers in engineering and technical roles for women. It is a day of celebration, raising the profile of the inspiring achievements of women in this discipline, in turn, encouraging more girls and women to consider engineering as a career.

A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering shows that 64 per cent of engineering employers say a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business and currently women make up less than 10% of the engineering sector. With a large skills gap looming and the additional need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to encourage girls and women to choose a career in engineering.

ADS members in the UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors are actively trying to address this gender gap, with larger companies having:

  • 15 per cent female workforce
  • 25 per cent female graduates, trainees and apprentices

There are further signs of encouraging progress; between 2012 and 2014, the number of women working as professional engineers in the UK more than doubled. As well as this, the Aerospace Growth Partnership’s Aerospace Master of Science degree (MSc) bursary scheme has awarded twice as many bursaries to women compared to other engineering MSc’s.

Diversity is crucial for innovation – companies are 15 per cent more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse. The UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors taking the lead in tackling the gender gap in engineering.
Encourage young women into STEM careers including engineering is paramount and ADS’ sectors have been encouraging the next generation workforce to take up roles and apprentices in engineering. Two apprentices from Rolls Royce give their view:

“To any woman considering doing an apprenticeship in engineering then I would definitely recommend it as choosing the apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce is the best decision I have ever made. If you are not fully sure then I would suggest doing some work experience in the business that you are considering applying for, so that you can start to understand what the sort of work you could do.” – Hannah Naqwi, Advanced Technical Apprenticeship.

“If any woman was contemplating starting an apprenticeship in engineering – I would say apply for work experience as this is what opened my eyes to what the company does, and what I could be doing in my career. Speaking to the people I was working with, and learning about how they joined the company and the benefits of apprenticeships was definitely a turning point for me; and is therefore something I would encourage others to do.” – Annabel Hibbert, Higher Engineering Apprentice