Programme promotes women role models in STEM further education

The Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, has launched a programme of Visiting Teaching Engineers (VTEs) which will place 15 professional women engineers into teaching roles in further education (FE) colleges across the UK.

The engineers will support lecturers by bringing frontline industrial knowledge and experience to the classroom.

Dr Rhys Morgan, the Academy’s director of engineering and education said: “In order to maintain the UK’s capabilities and support economic recovery, engineering employers will need to recruit 182,000 people with engineering skills every year.Currently, there is a shortfall of 69,000 advanced technicians and engineers a year. To bridge this gap it is essential that more women are encouraged to become engineers.”

The VTE programme, which runs from 2016-18, will also provide valuable role models and encourage women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to pursue careers as professional engineers and technicians. Currently, seven times as many men as women teach engineering in FE colleges.

The scheme is part of a range of initiatives being developed by the Academy to support STEM in the FE sector, which plays an important role by training the majority of the UK’s professional technicians with technical skills that help create, fix and maintain equipment and infrastructure in industries from farming to pharmaceuticals. The programme also supports efforts, led by the Academy, to promote diversity across the engineering profession.