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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Why is it important to get young women into engineering careers?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Further education, STEM

On International Women in Engineering Day we celebrate the enormous contribution that female engineers make to the country, and the world.

There are so many exciting engineering opportunities available offering a chance to secure a great career with higher wages.

However, figures show that women only makeup 16.5% of the engineering workforce, which is why it’s important that we all play our part in encourage more women and girls to consider a career in engineering. We need more engineers to help us continue to build a dynamic and growing economy.

As part of this, we need to address the gender imbalance in STEM subjects and improve girls’ take-up of maths, computing and physics.

What progress have you made so far?

We’ve seen some fantastic progress in recent years, with 30% more women and girls doing STEM A levels since 2010, and nearly a 50% increase in the number of women accepted onto undergraduate STEM courses.

But there is still more to do to ensure that girls and women are reaching their potential and are equally represented at all levels in engineering and every other sector.

How we are supporting more women to get into engineering 

Despite this progress, we recognise there is more we can do. That is why we are building on this through the STEM ambassadors programme, creating a network of Maths Hubs and funding the Simulating Physics Network to attract and hone top talent and improve girls participation in schools.

These skills can also be gained through apprenticeships, offering the opportunity to earn while you learn.

15% of starts in STEM apprenticeships were by females in 2020/21 and it’s great to see the proportion of women and girls taking up an apprenticeship in STEM is growing but we know there is more to do.

We are working with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practices in encouraging and retaining more women in STEM-based apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeship Network published a report during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 with best practice and hints and tips for employers to improve diversity in apprenticeships.

What are the routes available for young women to get into engineering?

In terms of routes into engineering, you can look on Get the Jump while for adults looking to upskill/reskill it’s Skills for Life.

There are also 3 new T Levels launching this September in engineering & manufacturing subjects (Design & Development for Engineering & manufacturing; Engineering, Manufacturing, Process and Control; Maintenance, Installation & Repair for Manufacturing & Engineering).

There are also other routes to gain and engineering qualifications such as studying at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology and at one of our Institutes of Technology.

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