More female apprentices needed in engineering sector, says SWDT

SW Durham Training (SWDT) is attempting to get more girls into apprenticeships after research from UKRC found that only 9% of UK engineering professionals are women compared to 18% in Spain, 26% in Sweden and 20% in Italy.

Business development manager of SWDT, 33-year-old Kate Chapman, began her career as an apprentice. She has since held leading positions for engineering firms in Holland and Sweden and hopes that other girls will follow suit.

She said: “I believe passionately about Apprenticeships for girls and boys as a fantastic career path. Under representation of female in STEM subjects is not unique to SWDT. It’s a national problem. The UK has the lowest number of female engineers in the whole of Europe. The Government is looking at ways of trying to remedy the problem and we’re embracing that.”

Kate added: “We have a noticeable disproportion in male to female learners’ at SWDT which currently stands at a 4:1 ratio. We have recognised this as an area for improvement, not only to tackle the gender bias issues, but as area for recruitment to address the engineering skills shortage as a whole. We have some clear targets and actions that we will be conducting, including a review of all promotion materials to show images of all learner groups via website, course brochures, programme leaflets and posters. We also plan to proactively organise promotional events to help promote awareness in the local area, and we’ll look to local industry and education for support in this.”