Encouraging more female engineering apprentices

Posted on 20 Sep 2018 and read 377 times
Encouraging more female  engineering apprenticesAccording to new research from the Institution of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE), many more young women could be interested in becoming engineering apprentices, but for them to be “converted” to engineering, there needs to be more support and encouragement later in their school careers.

Over the past five years, the emphasis on attracting girls to technology and engineering has focused on ‘inspirational’ activities during the last stages of primary school and the first three years of secondary school, the study Never Too Late: Profiling Female Engineering Apprentices suggests that there are many girls who might select an engineering pathway if there were more initiatives to encourage them after they leave school.

Indeed, the research found that there is a wider opportunity than previously expected to “engage” young women, as they appear to make career decisions later than their male counterparts.

It recommends that engineering careers initiatives should broaden their out-reach to target young women aged 15 to 25, noting that while women are under-represented in many STEM areas, this is particularly marked in engineering apprenticeships, where just 8% of apprentices are female.

Peter Finegold, head of education at the IMechE (www.imeche.org) and the lead author of the report, said: “Female engineering apprentices are something of a rarity, but there is no evidence that they are ‘a breed apart’.

“The UK school population may include many more young women who could be attracted to this career route, given the right opportunities.”

The study also said that, in addition to targeting a wider age range, programmes for attracting women to become engineering apprentices should broaden their approach to include those with interests in creative crafts and the arts.

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