Raising the bar for International Women in Engineering Day 2018
Created to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM related careers, International Women In Engineering Day (INWED) is a global awareness campaign that British Gypsum is proud to support.
Here, Clare Acklam, Senior HR Business Partner, looks at the valuable contribution women engineers and scientists make to our business every day.
From new product research, to process development and electrical engineering, manufacturing offers a huge variety of STEM related roles – and I’m pleased to say that at British Gypsum, many of the colleagues who work in these jobs are women. Yet, women make up just 11% of the UK engineering sector’s workforce.
Clearly, there is still a lot to be done and in the face of the skills gap that is looming across all STEM sectors, the need is more pressing than ever. Indeed, with some reports placing the annual shortfall of recruitment candidates with the right engineering skills at around 55,000 people, raising the profile of engineering as a career option for women and girls is one of the best ways to encourage diversity and safeguard the future of the industry.
Founded by the Women’s Engineering Society, INWED aims to do just that and we’re pleased to make our own contribution towards this goal. The theme for INWED 2018 is ‘Raising the Bar’ and we took this to heart by inviting a group of female engineering students to join us at our Barrow plant, to share their views on the barriers to young women entering engineering careers and what companies like British Gypsum can do to overcome them.
At the same time, the event aimed to help the students raise their own aspirations, by sharing some of our female colleagues’ success stories. For women building their professional careers, strong female role models can be instrumental in inspiring and developing the next generation, so having this space for networking and interaction was really valuable for the participants.
11 students from the University of Leeds joined us for the event on Wednesday 20th June and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Diane Mboumba, studying MSc Oilfield Corrosion Engineering, said: “I really enjoyed the fact that I’ve seen a lot of women here and I was able to talk to them and find out how much they enjoy their jobs. It was really motivating and makes me want to continue doing what I’m doing.”
Haya Mahfouz, studying MSc Energy and Environment, also said: “I loved touring the plant, it was amazing to see the rocks being milled and ground, then seeing all the pallets stacked up. It’s really made me want to work in the field, not just in an office. Most of what we do in university is simulation so seeing it actually applied in real life is amazing.”
Watch this space for more insights and a video from the event. To find out more about the contribution our employees make to our business – whatever their gender or background – head over to our Employee Stories