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College enrolls record number of female engineering apprentices

Forth Valley College in Stirlingshire has registered a record number of female engineering modern apprentices (MAs) for an academic year.

A total of 19 women MAs – covering areas such as welding and fabrication, instrumentation, power distribution and mechanical engineering – have begun their apprenticeships at the FVC Falkirk Campus.

They they will all spend their first year at college, while being employed by various companies such as TechnipFMC, Petrofac, Scotrail, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Aker Solutions, WorleyParsons, Ineos and PetroIneos, Dupont and Scottish Power.

Dunfermline based TechnipFMC have even recorded parity in the newstart MA group with eight women MAs and eight men beginning their journey at the same time.

ECITB, the statutory skills body for the engineering construction industry, sponsors the training of MAs at FVC on behalf of various partner companies and also saw their largest ever enrolment of first year women MAs, with four starting on their Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP).

FVC Business Development staff who are mentoring the MAs – David Quinney, Lorna Allison, Alanna Robertson, Vicki Francis, Frances Tasker and Lorraine Kerr are all hoping the record number of female engineering MAs, will inspire more and more to become interested in careers within the industry.

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “It is great to see a record number of women engineering modern apprentices start with us this year and we hope this will inspire even more women to think about engineering as a career. As a college we have been taking this message – which runs in parallel to the Scottish Government’s Gender Strategy – to schools and across the wider community for many years and we know our industry partners have been doing the same. We hope intakes like this will become the norm from now on.”

Tamara Janssen (23), who works for TechnipFMC is pictured here showing off her welding skills in the workshop, said: “It is absolutely brilliant to be a part of the largest intake of women MAs at Forth Valley College. Things are changing and I am really happy to get a job with TechnipFMC as they are a great company to work for.”

Rebecca McMillan (23), who works for Petrofac and is sponsored through ECITB, said: “This is important as it will promote getting more women into the industry. I read the case studies before I applied for my job and they inspired me, so I hope any young women reading this story and seeing the photos will be inspired to think about a career in engineering.”

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “If we are to meet the skills needs of the industry it is vital that we have a diverse workforce, but women make up just nine percent of engineers in the UK and only three percent of the workforce on the average engineering construction site.  So we know we need to do more make engineering jobs more appealing to women.

“It’s really encouraging to see fifteen women in the cohort of modern apprentices at Forth Valley College and a further four female apprentices enrolled in this year’s OGTAP programme. They are clearly working hard to counter traditional stereotypes and make engineering an attractive career path for talented young women.”

Hazel Smith, HR Director, Petrofac EPS West, said: “We’re delighted to see an improvement in the gender balance amongst this year’s modern apprentices. At Petrofac we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace because greater diversity builds a stronger business.”

Cammy Mitchell, Site Director at GlaxoSmithKline, said: “It is brilliant to see a record number of females embarking on a career in engineering. Having a more diverse group of trained engineers can only add benefit to companies such as ourselves and others.”

Ian Dalrymple from Dupont Teijin Films, said: “Through 2017/2018 we have recruited three females within engineering at our Dumfries Site – two as graduate engineers and one as a modern apprentice. I think it is great that so many female MAs have started at FVC this year including one from Dupont Teijin Films.”

Mark Haslett, Scottish Power’s Senior HR Consultant – Policy & Diversity, said: “Inclusion and diversity fosters innovation and creativity, driving better business performance. At ScottishPower, we recognise the value of diversity and are taking steps to ensure our workplace is supportive and open to everyone.”

Nicky Mason, Operations Director for WorleyParsons, explains, “At WorleyParsons, we believe in the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce, so it’s great to see a growing number of females choosing to join the engineering profession.  The future of our business depends on the next generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers, so we are proud to support apprenticeship schemes like this which nurture and develop a diverse range of talent.”