Friday, December 16, 2016

News: AESSEAL donation to boost number of women engineers

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Rotherham-based manufacturer, AESSEAL and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) have donated £50,000 to the University of Sheffield, aimed at encouraging more women to work in engineering.

With its global headquarters at Templeborough, £150m turnover AESSEAL manufactures mechanical seals for a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals. With a focus on quality, the firm has won numerous awards including 12 Queen's Awards to date and was named the overall winning company for IMechE's Manufacturing Excellence Awards in 2011 and is now a partner in the awards.

IMechE is an independent engineering society working to raise the profile of mechanical engineering.

Engineering director at AESSEAL, Stephen Shaw, and president of IMechE, Jon Hilton, formally made the donation at the Houses of Parliament where the University's Faculty of Engineering launched "Engineering Is," a campaign aimed at encouraging more young people to study engineering.

The shortage of UK engineers is a massive problem for the UK economy. Engineering companies will need 182,000 people per year with engineering skills in the decade to 2022 but there is a current annual shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers.

The shortage of women in engineering roles is even more acute - with only 9% of the engineering workforce being female.

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The AESSEAL donation will be administered by IMechE over a two year period and will key activities including inspiring primary-aged children to see engineering as an exciting choice by building on the resources developed by the University's Women in Engineering Student Society.

The money will be used for trialling a four week pre-sessional physics catch-up course and ongoing tutorial support aimed at removing barriers to engineering for female students who have not studied physics at A-level.

It will also be used in recruiting and retaining female engineering talent in Sheffield by helping female academics to progress to professorial roles through tailored support.

It follows a similar donation made to Sheffield Hallam University in March.

Stephen Shaw, engineering director at AESSEAL, said: "AESSEAL is very proud to support women in engineering and the University of Sheffield. It's something that we're excited to get involved in and that we need to do more of. We invest heavily in our infrastructure in terms of machines and, if our people are our greatest asset, then we don't have enough women, so we need to do something about that."

Jon Hilton, president of IMechE, said: "Given the engineering skills shortage, we cannot afford to miss out on the talent and ingenuity found in 51% of the population. We would like to thank AESSEAL for supporting the valuable work of the University of Sheffield to support female engineers."

Dr Rachael Rothman, Faculty Director for Women in Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield, added: "Engineering is a hugely varied and exciting career and through this project we aim to provide role models so many more children want to be engineers when they grow up. In terms of engineering progression, only 8% of engineering professors are female and we aim to increase this to 20% by 2025 in line with the proportion of females lower down the career ladder."

AESSEAL website
IMechE website
University of Sheffield website

Images: University of Sheffield


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