North East businesswoman empowering women through new campaign

A North East businesswoman is spearheading a new campaign to get more women into engineering and manufacturing managerial roles

Lynn Tomkins
Lynn Tomkins

A North East businesswoman is spearheading a new campaign to get more women into engineering and manufacturing managerial roles.

Mum-of-one Lynn Tomkins, former UK operations director for Teesside-based Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, will oversee the development of a gender diversity programme which she has successfully rolled out at a number of firms already.

Tomkins, who lives in Morpeth, Northumberland, will now chair and be an executive coach for Leeds-based Skills 4 Ltd, which looks at ways of addressing gender-balance issues within business.

She said that while engineering and manufacturing firms are starting to realise the untapped potential of women, there is still much to do in other areas – such as the legal and financial professions.

“Women represent half the UK workforce but only account for 22 per cent of science, engineering and manufacturing employees,” said Tomkins.

“They are a great untapped resource at a time when we need a wealth of new talent and higher level skills to improve competitiveness. Too many women see their careers put on hold or grind to a halt when they have family.”

During her time with Semta, Tomkins worked at Wynyard Park in Teesside to develop a programme for women.

She was also the first woman to become vice president of the shipbuilding, ship repair association (SSA) and serves on the board of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation - which she helped found.

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