A new toolkit has been launched to help HR directors attract more women into technical roles in engineering, IT, construction and science.
WISE, which campaigns to get more women and girls into STEM, the engineering skills body Semta and the Institution of Civil Engineers have formed a partnership to launch the apprenticeship toolkit for all businesses that employ staff in STEM roles – most commonly engineering, ICT and science.
Launching the report at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s conference to mark National Women in Engineering Day in Birmingham, WISE CEO Helen Wollaston hailed the toolkit as a step change for business saying:
“Employers tell us they would employ women in technical roles if only they would apply. A few simple changes to how roles are described and marketed makes all the difference. We put the toolkit together to share examples of what others have done. This isn’t just about encouraging girls to consider a STEM apprenticeship. We would like to see employers offer apprenticeships to women of any age who want the opportunity to do something different – including women they already employ.”
James Kidd, CEO, AVEVA explained:
“As a world leader in Engineering, Design and Information Management software, it’s critical for AVEVA to obtain the right skills and talent in a highly competitive market. AVEVA has committed to the WISE Ten Steps to further support women in STEM careers. In addition, we have a growing, award-winning Apprenticeship Programme that helps us to find and develop young professionals, a key ingredient to our future success. AVEVA is very pleased to support the WISE Apprenticeship Toolkit.”
Despite growth in the number of apprenticeships over the last several years, with 3 million new apprenticeships in England since 2010, the number of women taking up apprenticeships in technical roles like engineering and technology-related fields has remain much lower. Just 17% in ICT, 8% in engineering and 2% in construction.
Research shows that women still only make up 21% of core STEM employees. And only 17% in ICT apprentice graduates, 8% of engineering apprentice graduates and 2% of construction graduates were women.
Talking about why figures are so low for women and girls taking up apprenticeships in STEM sectors, Ann Watson, Chief Executive at Semta Group said:
“There is still a view that apprenticeships, especially in engineering and other technical fields, aren’t for girls.
“That’s just nonsense and we know from the work Semta has done that women and girls working in STEM apprenticeships almost universally love their jobs, have a great experience and are in high demand.
“That’s why the toolkit is so important – it’s a great resource for HR teams looking to reach out and attract women and girls into often male-dominated industries. We’ve put a step by step plan together to support their efforts.”
The full toolkit can be downloaded at www.wisecampaign.org.uk/apprenticeship-toolkit and WISE, Semta and ICE are offering businesses that use the toolkit help and advice to support any projects they want to develop.