What is #INWED18?
International Women in Engineering Day takes place this year on 23rd June 2018. Led by the Women in Engineering Society (WES) this event has been running annually since 2017, having expanded from WES’ National Women in Engineering Day created in 2014.
WES is a registered charity founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War, primarily in response to the high numbers of women who had worked in technical roles and wished to continue on this path. However, laws had been adopted to ensure that the women reverted back to pre-war roles at the end of the War, leaving these individuals unable to continue contributing to a sector of which it was clearly felt they were unwelcome. A handful of influential female individuals founded WES in response to this situation, campaigning for equal opportunities and improved representation of women in Engineering. More information can be found on the WES website.
INWED18 seeks to continue to the work of WES on an international scale, celebrating the achievements of women in engineering and encouraging a new generation to consider a career in the sector. This year’s theme is “raising the bar”, with events being held all over the UK and the rest of the world, largely directed at school age individuals wishing to explore their future career options. Find out where your nearest event is here.
There’s more male than female engineers: So what?
A survey conducted by the Women in STEM workforce, WISE Campaign, 2017, highlighted that in 2017 11% of the engineering workforce in the UK were female, an increase from 9% in 2015. However, the number of registered engineers is much lower at around 5%. The UK also has one of the lowest number of female engineers in the workforce in Europe, contrasting with Bulgaria and Cyprus where the figure is around 30%.
Seemingly the issue is not related to female attainment in science, as figures show that at GCSE level results across both genders are more or less equal. The key issue appears to be that female students tend not to progress STEM to higher education level, with an average of only 15% of students undertaking an undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering subject.
There is fairly significant skills gap currently in the UK engineering sector, which could be ably filled if more female students are encouraged to think about progressing a career in a STEM subject. As time goes on this gap will significantly impact on economic growth and innovation within businesses, as companies struggle to find the expertise they need to remain competitive in the global market.
KEEP+ is doing its bit….
Funding for innovation and knowledge exchange is an effective way of bringing together businesses with academia and the next generation of science and engineering graduates. These mutually beneficial collaborations not only promote business development by enabling and re-risking these interactions, but also provide an in-road to career opportunities for talented graduates in a hands-on role that is directly linked to their qualifications. Academic establishments are also able to build new relationships with the private sector, apply and improve their own research and better understand the commercial landscape to help prepare students for their amazing new engineering careers!
For example, KEEP+ Innovation Internships provide a great opportunity for businesses to source a graduate to work directly with them on a 12 week set of activities, 50% match funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A KEEP+ Internship is an amazing opportunity for a business to harness a very specific skill set to complete a short stage of product development, while the graduate gains valuable work experience in a paid position, and in some cases there is the possibility for the internship to evolve into a longer term post.
If you are interested in finding out more about KEEP+’s knowledge exchange funding opportunities for SMEs, check out our website and drop the team or one of our delivery partners a line via our contacts page.
If you are a Graduate and interested in getting involved in either a KEEP or an Innovation Internship check out our Opportunities for Graduates Page