More must be done to attract women into engineering. Ford Engineering, a manufacturer of aerospace parts, has a female staff of 32% – some way ahead of the national average of around 20%. That puts Ford in line with some of the leading nations in the world, but I would like to see more done to promote the opportunities that engineering can offer people from all backgrounds. We feel it makes us a better place to work. It’s beneficial to have as wide a variety of perspectives as possible to draw on when making key decisions.
A college course that Ford Engineering sponsors – the Ford Engineering Academy at Gateshead College in the UK – attracts just one female applicant for every 40 males. We want the college course to provide an accessible avenue for women to get into engineering, but application levels are short of where we would like them to be.
It’s a course that welcomes women and we’d be delighted if more women would enrol. Current applicant levels from women show that we collectively need to do more to make the industry appealing.
I believe the responsibility for that lies both with the industry itself – which must do more to promote the opportunities it can provide – but also with parents and teachers. Engineering is a wonderful, rewarding career and it should be held up as an aspirational career path for young girls to consider.
We have recruited people directly from the course in the past and will do so again in the future – the college course is an excellent way to develop future talent.
As Kelsie Dugmore, a female commercial engineer at Ford Engineering, explains, “Having the direct or applied knowledge gives me the opportunity to work through problems and modify the situation I find myself in, to work with what I know and learn how to adapt. It’s empowering, and I love the combination of the theory and practicality of engineering working together to create and recreate things.
“It’s more important than ever to be in a company and profession which you enjoy and you and the company you’re employed at reflect each other’s values.”