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More women engineers urgently needed

Ed Miliband has announced that thousands of female engineers will be trained up as part of a ‘national mission’ to tackle the skills shortage.

Responding, Michelle Richmond from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “It’s great to see that Ed Miliband is making plans to tackle the engineering skills shortage. This is a very significant problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy.

The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry.

It also means that women are losing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities.

“The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of things: from the careers advice girls are given in schools, to schools not instilling girls with the confidence to opt for science and maths at A-level, through to employers needing to do more to make their approach to recruitment and retention more female friendly.

“There is no easy fix to this problem so it’s important that any future training programmes are developed in close consultation with industry, schools and colleges if we want them to make a real and lasting impact.

“The lack of inspirational engineering role models for girls is also part of the problem so we must make sure we show the next generation that engineering is an interesting and challenging career choice, which is why initiatives like our Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards are so important.”

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