14 January 2011
Europe’s largest professional body of engineers has voiced concern about falling government support for efforts to increase the number of women in engineering.
The UKRC, previously the government's lead organisation for supporting women in science and engineering, has lost funding. It is not clear what the government will do instead to support this important agenda.
“Too few women enter the engineering profession” said Dr Tony Whitehead, Director of Governance and Policy at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). “Our most recent skills survey found that only 5% of engineers and 4% of engineering technicians currently working in industry are women.
“The lack of women in engineering is a significant problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy. It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities. The IET invests a great deal of time and resource into attracting more women into engineering, but addressing this issue also requires support from industry and government. It is a serious concern if the Government does not continue to provide effective support.”
Whilst funding for UKRC has been removed, the Royal Academy of Engineering will manage a new Diversity in Engineering Programme, which we understand will receive £200,000 of funding. This is less than 10% of the £2.5 million annual funding previously given to the UKRC.