ICE supports International Women in Engineering Day with inspirational day of events

ICE teams across the regions took part in activities to encourage more women into the industry.

Lauren Gracey, a Design Coordinator at Graham Construction appeared in a film for INWED2017
Lauren Gracey, a Design Coordinator at Graham Construction appeared in a film for INWED2017

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimates that more than 230,000 new recruits will be needed between 2016 and 2020 to meet expected construction demand, without factoring in losses due to retirement. The long timescales involved in training new construction workers means the short to medium term outlook for the UK in meeting its skills need is bleak

Today, less than one in eight of the engineering workforce is female, and while nearly 53% of the total of 261,000 apprenticeship sector framework achievements (i.e. across all subject areas) were by women in 2014/15, the proportion for engineering-related frameworks was much lower at 7.4%.

ICE’s figures show that 12.7% of its membership are female, up from 12.1% in 2016 and 21.3% of those on active training agreements are women. Whilst these figures are encouraging, more needs to be done.

ICE supported the day with a host of activities designed to showcase the contribution of women to engineering, and encourage more to consider it as a career.

In Birmingham, ICE collaborated with Semta and WISE to launch a new toolkit aimed at offering practical advice on getting more women into engineering through an apprenticeship.

ICE also encouraged entries to the Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35 poll, A total of ten ICE members made the top 50 in what was a strong showing for civil engineers.

Britanny Harris, one of ICE President Tim Broyd’s Apprentices wrote an inspirational post for the Civil Engineer blog, on what motivated her to become an engineer.

Seán Harris, ICE Director of Membership said:

"The UK’s productivity lags behind the rest of the G7 group of industrialised nations by some way and a world class engineering workforce is a key to closing this gap. However, the UK has faced an engineering skills shortage for some time now, and the uncertainty of Brexit brings further challenges. It is therefore vital that we look to bring underrepresented sections of our society into the infrastructure sector.

“ICE continues to support International Women in Engineering Day, and works across the year to develop programmes which aim to address the gender imbalance within the sector.

“For example, we have seen successes in our ‘Civils Comeback’ internship scheme for engineers returning to work after having children. We also continue to work with schools to help overcome misconceptions about careers in engineering and our Diversity and Inclusivity plan, now in its second year, aims to tackle unconscious bias within the sector. "

Around the country, events includes:

  • ICE South West held an event with Clifton Suspension Bridge and the first female Bridge Master Trish Johnson as well as collaborating with WSP and WWA to host a pre-19 activity day for schools across Cornwall.
  • ICE Northern Ireland hosted a ‘People Like Me’ event to help encourage girls to take up STEM subjects as well as producing a video of influential local women engineers explaining the work they do and why they enjoy engineering.
  • ICE Yorkshire and Humber also hosted a ‘People Like Me’ event’ at Leeds Beckett University as well as a Water Challenge activity with South Milford Guides.
  • ICE North West led a networking event featuring guest speakers and through provoking presentations, whilst ICE Wales hosted a ‘From site engineer to boardroom’ session featuring high profile female engineers.
  • ICE London held an evening of inspiring talks from women in the engineering industry at Museum late in London, which also featured a range of interactive stalls.
  • ICE West Midlands held a joint event with the Environment Agency (EA), and profiled prominent female EA engineers across regional media.

Held for the first time in 2014, International Women in Engineering Day is an International awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It takes place annually on 23 June. It was conceived by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), who launched this year’s events at ICE’s headquarters One Great George Street.