Latest Rail News

24.06.14

Female engineers needed to tackle the skills shortage – Crossrail

Crossrail has launched a competition that focuses on developing new ideas that could attract women to engineering, saying that the UK needs to double the number of annual university engineering graduates to 87,000 to meet demand.

Marking the first National Women in Engineering Day yesterday, Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: “We must challenge the gender stereotypes that continue to influence some young women and men in their selection of careers.”

Just 8.5% of UK engineers are women, the lowest proportion in Europe. But with an estimated 1 million job openings by 2020, across rail and other sectors, recruiting more talented women is seen as the best way of tackling the skills shortage.

More than 70 students aged 16-19 took part in Crossrail’s project, and discussed barriers for women to purse an engineering career, from perceptions that it was a ‘man’s job’ to family objections and discrimination. Both genders thought the integration of female role models in engineering across popular culture would raise the profile of engineering as a career for women.

Half of state schools are not sending even a single female student on to study A-level maths or sciences.

Crossrail and its contractors have worked with around 100 schools reaching more than 10,000 students in the past year in a bid to attract more young people to engineering, including young women and leave a lasting legacy for the industry. They are supporting the Government’s Your Life initiative which aims to promote science and maths at school. Thecampaign aims to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects by 50% over the next three years.

Crossrail is making progress in addressing the gender gap in engineering: 19% of graduates working on the project are women, as are 25% of the senior management team.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Crossrail ladies in lift

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