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#NotJustForBoys Campaign Want More Women Working in Industry

Category: Industry News, Women, STEM, Engineering, manufacturing

NotJustForBoys Campaign Want More Women Working in Industry

Karline Symes is a working mum among a growing band of women who are forging their way in what were once male dominated professions.

The 26-year-old from Bradford became interested in joinery after moving house. After embarking on a taster course for joinery, she honed her skills at Bradford College where she discovered she had a natural flair.

From there she was signposted on to Bradford Council and is now on a joinery apprenticeship with social housing provider, Incommunities.

"It is something that comes naturally to me and I feel really passionate about it," says Karline.

"There is always lots to learn and improve on."

Women are changing the face of construction. Traditionally, it was a male-dominated domain but an increasing number of women are now taking on jobs which were once typically for the boys.

Karline believes more women are being encouraged to pursue professions such as construction and engineering as they see other women like her fulfilling those roles.

"There is definitely more encouragement from women seeing me when I got to customers' properties. I think that encourages women to go into it."

Karline and her female counterparts have proved they are just as capable as men to take on such professions and she says there is always someone to ask and assist.

"There is nothing wrong with asking for help. It is asking for advice and knowing there is another way round things," says Karline.

She also welcomes the recently launched business-backed #notjustforboys campaign which aims to highlight the fact that despite UK women getting into work faster than any other country in the G7, there are still professions where not enough females are breaking through and reaching the top jobs.

Launched by employment minister, Esther McVey, the campaign is backed by more than 30 leading businesses and individuals, including WISE, Women in Science and Engineering.

Based in Bradford, WISE aims to increase the gender balance in the UK's STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) workforce increasing the presence of female employees from 13 per cent, as it currently stands, to 30 per cent by 2020.

"In order to do this we aim to get 1 million more women into the STEM sector," says a WISE spokesman.

"Our services are designed to build and sustain the pipeline of female talent in STEM from classroom to boardroom, boosting the talent pool to drive economic growth."

Recent research reveals there are likely to be around 12 million job opportunities open up in the UK over the next decade, and despite women now choosing to work in record numbers, they are still underrepresented in many of the UK’s jobs growth areas.

As part of the Government’s long-term economic plan, the Minister wants women to be able to make the most of the record number of vacancies in the economy.

“Through the #notjustforboys campaign we want to energise young girls and support more women to make the choices that are right for them, and have the security of a regular wage in an industry that’s driving Britain’s growth.”

The UK has seen the fastest growth in the number of women in work in the last year out of all G7 economies - there are a record 14.4 million women in work.

There have been nearly 3,500 more women in work every week on average since 2010, boosting the employment rate for women to a record 68.2 per cent.

Around 80 per cent of the growth in female employment in the last four years has been in managerial, professional and technical professions. Women have made impressive gains across a range of sectors, however women are still underrepresented in growth areas such as: Engineering professionals (up 10% since 2011) – 7% working in this area are women; science, engineering and production technicians (up 45% since 2011) – 25% working in this area are women.

#Notjustforboys is also designed to provide a platform for organisations to amplify their own campaigns to encourage more women to consider careers in science, engineering, sport or taking up a position on a board.

Says Karline: "I think it is important that it isn't just for the boys and it is plain and simple that men can go into women type roles such as childminders and care assistants - it works both ways and I think it is really important that we put that out there because there are women at home who say 'I wouldn't mind learning about that' and it gives them the opportunity to take the next step."

Julian Chaudhuri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics at Bradford University, says while there has been progress in encouraging women into engineering and computing, the university is focusing on expanding its outreach activities to encourage women to think early on about engineering and computing careers.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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