Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) aims to promote female talent in science, engineering and technology from classroom to boardroom.
Wednesday 23rd November saw the launch of the WISE West Midlands Hub at Arup Campus in Solihull. Members of the hub, including Solihull College & University Centre, met to speak with influential people within engineering to pass their message on and encourage more people to get involved.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals, teachers and businesses within the West Midlands region were invited to attend the launch and heard from College Principal, John Callaghan and College Programme Manager for Engineering, Rosa Wells amongst others.
Rosa spoke of the issues within engineering, specifically looking at the lack of females within the industry. She stated women represent 46% of the UK labour force and despite girls achieving equal, and often better, grades than boys in STEM subjects women make up less than 13% of the UK STEM workforce, and less than 6% of the engineering workforce.
When looking at the factors as to why this was the case it was clear to those involved in WISE that the information about careers in engineering for women was not readily available to them and they believe this is something that needs to change.
Taking this into consideration, WISE has a main aim: Provide a self-sustaining regional WISE network of committed employers and STEM role models who will partner with schools to offer pupils, parents and teachers a programme of up to date information and guidance on STEM career opportunities, pathways and training, that will lead to an increase in the numbers of young women choosing STEM careers.
With engineering employers needing 1.82 million people with engineering skills from 2012-2022, according to Engineering UK, now is an extremely crucial time to ensure that the skills gap within engineering is filled. Principal of the College John Callaghan stated “There is currently a skills shortage within the engineering industry and with the uncertainty of the UK’s future when looking at Brexit; we need to ensure that this skills gap doesn’t grow. The industry is an extremely attractive one and we have talent right at our doorstep with many skilled young people, women specifically, who will be able to take advantage of the huge opportunities available to them through education at institutions such as Solihull College & University Centre or through work experience and apprenticeships at the vast number of engineering companies within our region.”
Solihull College & University Centre will be acting as the central hub to hold future events where people will have the opportunity to meet easily to discuss issues, share success strategies and also inspire girls at local schools about the great career opportunities available for women in science and engineering; forming strong links between schools, colleges, universities and STEM industries in the local area.
WISE are seeking hub partners to join the steering group as well as educational and employer partners to push forward with WISE hub and give young women the chance to gain a rewarding career within engineering.
For more information on the WISE Hub visit www.wisecampaign.org.uk