Pre-apprenticeships could help close the gender divide in engineering

Just 8.5% of the engineers in the UK are women and 62% of 11-21 year-old girls believe engineering and technology is just for boys, according to the Telegraph. One company that aims to address this is engineering solutions firm adi Group which last month launched the UK’s first pre-apprenticeship scheme for 14-16 year olds.

The scheme, run in partnership with a local secondary school, involves adi engineers teaching core practical skills to 12 pupils in a live workshop for half a day each week.

By introducing young women to the world of engineering at an early age, it is hoped that more of them will choose to enter a career in the industry after they’ve completed their studies.

“Despite recent figures showing more people are entering apprenticeship schemes than ever before, for every female apprentice working within the UK engineering sector there are 25 male apprentices,” said Alan Lusty, CEO and founder of adi Group. “With apprenticeships being the main route into engineering roles it is hardly surprising that the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineering professionals.”

Lusty added that the rest of the world is continuing to develop and grow its engineering proficiency creating more competition than ever before.

“A key part of the solution lies in providing engineering training for young women before they make important career decisions,” added Lusty. “Our new pre-apprenticeship scheme links together industry and education to show school age children the benefits of engineering and present it as a viable career option.

adi Group hopes that by taking on a healthy proportion of male and female apprentices each year it can contribute to closing the skills gap, ensuring that well-trained, dedicated professionals continue to enter the profession.

“More businesses need to follow our example by engaging with young people and encouraging them to consider engineering as an attractive potential career. We believe our pre-apprenticeship scheme offers a comprehensive model which other schools and employers will be able to replicate,” Lusty concluded.