Former Education Secretary in Scunthorpe for event aiming to get more women and girls into engineering

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 22 Sep 2017

A Scunthorpe college has moved to encourage more girls and women into engineering roles.

At an event held at the Humber University Technical College yesterday (September 21), staff and speakers joined to call to make engineering more accessible to women.

Principal, Marc Doyle, said there is a "significant drop off" in women taking STEM subjects.

"We struggle to get girls to take STEM subjects at A-level," he said.

"Then once they are passed the age of 16 we lose them and they do not go into engineering roles.

"Today is about looking at getting more girls and women into engineering."

Humber UTC principal Marc Doyle speaking at the event. (Image: Sarah Washbourn)

Speaking at the event was former education secretary and women and equalities minister, Nicky Morgan MP.

Mrs Morgan said that the event is about making engineering more accessible for both young people and older.

"I think there is a view that engineering is about heavy labour," she said.

READ MORE: Call for action to stop Scunthorpe industrial estate junction being used as 'overnight lorry park'

"What we need to do is to show that engineering is a route for both young people but also for older people.

"We are living longer and working longer so we need to show that the careers are there."

Megan Fletcher and Devon Hill who have pursued careers in engineering. (Image: Sarah Washbourn)

Current engineering students Megan Fletcher, 23, and Devon Hill, 21, said they were enjoying their current roles.

Devon, who is taking a year out from her degree at Loughborough University to work with firm Phillips 66, said she finds the trade interesting.

"I just find the role more interesting," she said.

"You're doing different bits of work everyday."

Megan said she thinks the image of engineering is a problem for women getting into the trade.

"I think from what it looks on the outside it looks like a lot of heavy lifting," she said.

"I have done a lot of different jobs and I just find this to be more interesting and different."

Charles Parker, chief executive of the Baker Deering Trust, said for him it is about getting more people into STEM subjects first.

"We're coming at it from the position that the English education system does not do enough," he said.

"We look at it from the perspective that young people begin to know what they like and dislike at around 14 years old.

"If the school does not offer them engineering then that is what a technical college is for.

Mr Parker said that once the college can get more people into engineering then the gender balance will follow.

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