Schoolgirls in Newton Aycliffe will have the opportunity to gain an insight into a career in manufacturing and engineering with the help of a leading training provider workshop.
South West Durham Training (SWDT) will take to County Durham and Darlington to deliver the Girls into Engineering workshops for schoolgirls aged 13 to 16 to inspire a career in the industry and tackle gender stereotypes.
The training provider, which has been equipping the region with the skills needed to lead the way in the manufacturing and engineering sector for more than 45 years, is also hoping to encourage schools to add the subjects to their curriculum after recent figures showed that just 6% of the UK engineering workforce is female.
The one-day workshop will offer an overview of the manufacturing and engineering industry, address gender stereotypes and will include Snacktory Factory, an interactive activity which has an element of creativity and design, which according to studies evokes better engagement in girls.
In light of National Women in Engineering Day on Monday, 23rd June, Kate Chapman, business development manager at SWDT is leading the workshop programme and hopes that schools will sign up to the workshops before September.
She said: “We’re currently working on the development of Girls into Engineering workshops, intended for delivery into secondary schools from September 2014. It’s a focused campaign initiated to respond to this area of improvement with a targeted approach and measureable outcome.
“I came through the apprenticeship route with SWDT myself and have seen first-hand how great a career in engineering and manufacturing can be.
“I’m delighted to play a part in introducing the next generation to the industry and hope to see schools across the board sign up to take part in the workshops.”
The drive behind the call for women in engineering comes as Government announce a national shortage of engineers required to drive forward the economic recovery and future growth within the sectors.
Miss Chapman added: “We have a noticeable disproportion in male-to-female learners’ at SWDT, which currently stands at a 14:1 ratio.
“We have recognised this as an area for improvement, not only to tackle the gender bias issues in industry, but as an area for recruitment to address the engineering skills shortage as a whole.
“With this repeated fact comes the extreme under-representation of women in industry and it is within our own values as a training provider to ensure that we strive for equality of opportunity. The Government is looking at ways of trying to remedy the problem and at SWDT we’re embracing that.”
The role of female apprentices will also be addressed at an upcoming business conference hosted by SWDT on Tuesday, 8th July.
The training provider is calling for employers across the region to pledge an apprentice in order to work towards employing more of the UK workforce through apprenticeship by April 2015.
For more information on the Girls in Engineering workshop or South West Durham Training, call Kate Chapman, business development manager on 01325 328170 or Trevor Alley, chief executive officer, on 01325 328160.