I am pleased to announce that SME Graduate Employment is now a partner of the Women’s Engineering Society. At around 12%, there are not enough Women in engineering, and I’m happy to be able to do my bit to address this.
From a business perspective the average calibre of female engineering and technical students and graduates who I have worked with has been very high. They have shown commitment and focus by choosing to study an engineering or technical degree, and have transferred these qualities to their studies and in the workplace, becoming real assets to their employers.
In 2018 the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board warned that 20% of UK engineers are due to retire, or be close to retiring, by 2026. Clearly, this needs to be addressed and one way of planning ahead and getting some younger people in is by looking at graduates.
There is a lot of excellent work being done to promote engineering and technological roles as a career choice from an early age, addressing some of the misconceptions around careers in these industries.
In the long-term this will have an effect on the number of women enrolling on university engineering and technology courses; there are already positive signs: Engineering UK reports that in 2018-19 the proportion was the highest it has ever been, at 21%. So things are going in the right direction, and this could be key to helping to address the imbalance. There is, though, a lot of work still to be done in both the long and short-term.
I’m looking forward to developing the partnership, particularly in relation to student and graduate members. There is a lot that I can personally learn from the partnership, and I hope to be able to help to show the next generation of women engineers the great opportunities that exist with SMEs, who can often be overshadowed by the bigger graduate employers.