Friday, June 22, 2018

News: AMRC Training Centre supports International Women in Engineering Day

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The University of Sheffield's AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham is shining a light on some of its talented female engineers ahead of this year's International Women in Engineering Day.

The AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) where the focus is on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Part of the The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, apprentices have opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels.

​​International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering. It takes place on June 23 with the theme of #RaisingTheBar having grown from the UK's National Women in Engineering Day.

Apprentices and engineers at the AMRC Training Centre - which provides the practical and academic skills engineering and manufacturing companies need to compete globally – is throwing its support behind the awareness day.

Women make up less than 11% of the engineering sector in the UK and with a large skills gap looming, along with the need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering.

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AMRC Training Centre apprentice, Emma Sisman, works at Niftylift Ltd in Hoyland, Barnsley. The 19-year-old is training to become a quality engineer. Her role involves inspecting welded and fabricated parts to check that they are at the correct standard for the business.

Emma, whose granddad was a welder, believes that events like International Women in Engineering Day help reaffirm the positive message given to young girls and women that they can make a valuable contribution to the world of engineering.

"It shows the need for women in this area and the skills and roles they can bring to the career and industry, and shows them that it is OK and you can be comfortable doing the job you want to do," she said.

"I believe it is extremely important to encourage young girls and women to become engineers because it shows them that the industry isn't just for men but also for women as well because the majority of the time this is the issue with it being a male dominated career. But by encouraging other females to be a part of the industry that will help them to feel more comfortable."

Kathryn Jackson is the Programme Lead for the Degree Apprenticeship in Manufacturing Technology at the AMRC Training Centre. She also the chair of Nuclear AMRC's Athena SWAN team, a scheme that recognises a commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering and related fields at universities and research institutions.

Kathryn spearheaded Nuclear AMRC's successful application for the Athena SWAN bronze award in 2016 which acknowledges an institution has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.

She said: "Through working for the Athena SWAN bronze award I have become increasingly aware of the barriers facing young women wanting to pursue a career in engineering.

"The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is leading the way for regeneration of manufacturing and we recognise that advancement in technology comes hand in hand with advancement in workplace diversity - a successful workforce employs the best talent from all demographic groups.

"Solutions to the world's biggest problems, such as tackling climate change, will come from engineers. My advice to all young women is to question their own perceptions of their career aspirations and, if they haven't done so already, consider how they could make a difference to the world through a valued career in engineering."

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Alana Brewster is an Advanced Apprentice at SNC Lavalin's Atkins group based in Sheffield. Her role sees her involved with a variety of projects, helping her to gain a range of experience in many areas of the business. She said STEM subjects have always been an interest of hers as she enjoys practical problem solving and understanding of how things work.

The 18-year-old was drawn to engineering as she liked the idea that no two days would be the same and there are always new challenges ahead. She chose the route of apprentice as it allows her to gain the skills and knowledge – both practical and academic – to be successful in industry. She said hands-on training means apprentices can put skills into practice, giving them more confidence in the workplace.

Alana, of Doncaster, is keen to see more women enter the industry. She said: "Getting more women to pursue a career in engineering would not only address the clear gender gap but a diverse workforce is also important for providing creativity, new ideas and solutions.

"More women in engineering would inspire confidence in other females, demonstrating that although engineering is currently dominated by men, integrating both males and females would bring a greater advantage to the engineering industry, especially since engineering skills are in such high demand."

AMRC Training Centre

Images: AMRC

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