South West Durham Training offering engineering workshops for girls to fill skills gap

South West Durham Training is hoping to encourage more females in to engineering and manufacturing

Kate Chapman, business development manager at SWDT
Kate Chapman, business development manager at SWDT

A North East training provider is doing its bit to tackle gender stereotyping while inspiring girls into careers in manufacturing and engineering.

South West Durham Training (SWDT) will be offering its Girls into Engineering workshops for schoolgirls aged 13 to 16 in the County Durham area.

The business, which has been developing skills for the region’s manufacturing and engineering sectors for more than 45 years, is also hoping to encourage schools to add the subjects to their curriculum after recent figures showed females make up only 6% of the UK engineering workforce.

The announcement comes just before National Women in Engineering Day on Monday, June 23, and it is hoped that many schools will sign up to the workshops in advance of September.

Kate Chapman, business development manager at SWDT, who is leading the workshop programme, said: “It’s a focused campaign initiated to respond to this area of improvement with a targeted approach and measurable outcome.

“I came through the apprenticeship route with SWDT myself and have seen first-hand how great a career in engineering and manufacturing can be.

“I’m delighted to play a part in introducing the next generation to the industry and hope to see schools across the board sign up to take part in the workshops.”

As well as offering an overview of the manufacturing and engineering industry, the one-day workshops will also address gender stereotypes and will include interactive activities.

The call for more women in engineering comes as the Government announces a shortage of engineers when it comes to driving forward economic recovery and future growth within the sectors.

Chapman, added: “We have a noticeable disproportion in male-to-female learners’ at SWDT, which currently stands at a 14:1 ratio. We have recognised this as an area for improvement, not only to tackle the gender bias issues in industry, but as an area for recruitment to address the engineering skills shortage as a whole.”

The role of female apprentices will also be addressed at an upcoming business conference hosted by SWDT on Tuesday, July 08.

For more information on the workshops, call 01325 328170.

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