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New drive for the women engineers of tomorrow launched...

New drive for the women engineers of tomorrow launched amid skills warning

10 March 2015

Voices of Apprentices conference. Tuesday 10 March at Solihull College - 12:45 at Solihull College’s Blossomfield Campus, Blossomfield Rd, Solihull, B91 1SB

Just three per cent of engineering apprentices are women because of an unconscious bias from teachers, parents and employers according to a new guide from Britain’s largest union, Unite.

The guide, being launched on Tuesday 10 March at Solihull College, harnesses the experiences of young women in engineering and is part of a campaign by the union to bust myths and encourage more young women into engineering and science apprenticeships.

Only seven per cent of the UK’s engineering workforce are women, the lowest in the European Union, according to Unite, which warns that gender stereotyping in apprenticeships is stifling ambition and depriving the UK economy of vital skills and talent.

Media are welcome to attend Tuesday’s launch during the Voices of Apprentices conference where Unite young women members will be talking about their experiences and the importance of tackling gender stereotyping in apprenticeships. 

The launch takes place at 12:45 at Solihull College’s Blossomfield Campus, Blossomfield Rd, Solihull, B91 1SB. Later in the day Unite will also be launching the guide to trade bodies and employer organisations at its London HQ, followed by a roll out to schools and colleges over the coming weeks.

Advance copies of the guide can be obtained by emailing Bridget Clemson

Commenting Unite head of equalities Siobhan Endean said: “Unconscious bias from teachers, parents and employers combined with outdated myths are deterring the women engineers of tomorrow. 

“Young women are more likely to be encouraged to take up careers in hairdressing and social care than science and engineering. If we are to get the 87,000 new apprentices that the UK economy needs in engineering every year for the next decade, then we need to tackle the gender stereotyping of apprenticeships. 

“The myths of engineering being unsafe, dirty work which women aren’t strong enough to do are from a bygone age. Unite works hard with our members and employers to secure decent pay and good apprenticeships with high level skills and the prospect of a real job at the end of it.

“There is a huge wealth of untapped potential among the nation’s young women which parents and teachers need to encourage and employers need to harness. 

“As part of our campaign we will be working with them and using the experiences of the women engineers of today to inspire the women engineers and scientists of tomorrow.”

ENDS

For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Siobhan Endean Unite head of equalities on 07979 806545. 

Notes to editors:

  • Download a full copy of the  Women who work in engineering and science briefing (PDF)
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.