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News: Smash­ing stereo­types in con­struc­tion and STEM

Female engineering students
Female engineering students

Nottingham College is one of the largest providers of construction and engineering training in the Midlands, but we’re still seeing a considerable gap between the number of female construction students compared with male.

Smashing Stereotypes BSW Logo

As it’s British Sci­ence Week (BSW), we’re shin­ing a spot­light on STEM (sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, engi­neer­ing and maths) and con­struc­tion careers and hop­ing to inspire more females into these grow­ing industries. 

Over the past five years, our con­struc­tion cohort (which includes both Con­struc­tion and Build­ing Ser­vices) has seen 4725 male stu­dents train­ing with us, com­pared with just 456 female stu­dents – that’s less than 10%! 

Sim­i­lar­ly, over the past five years, only 6.8% of our Engi­neer­ing stu­dents were female and just 5.4% for Motor Vehicle. 

BSW’s Smash­ing Stereo­types’ cam­paign aims to high­light the diver­si­ty of the STEM work­force, the extent of jobs and careers avail­able, and that sci­en­tists are just like every­one else.

Growing industries need expanding workforces

Wind turbine

After an unset­tling peri­od, the future is look­ing bright for the con­struc­tion indus­try. A grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and demand for pow­er, com­bined with the urgency for green­er ener­gy to tack­le cli­mate change, means there’s nev­er been a bet­ter or more cru­cial time to upskill our cur­rent con­struc­tion work­force and to encour­age the next gen­er­a­tion of young trainees to enter the industry. 

From wind tur­bines and solar pow­er to geot­her­mal heat and elec­tric vehi­cles. The num­ber of renew­able and sus­tain­able ener­gy sources are expect­ed to con­tin­ue to increase over the next few years and it’s vital that we pre­pare our workforce. 

Inspiring females

Work­ing hard to inspire the next gen­er­a­tion of female stu­dents and help­ing to tack­le the out-dat­ed stereo­types, is Kirsty Walsh, our Head of Cen­tre for Engi­neer­ing and Auto­mo­tive, and pre­vi­ous Not­ting­ham Col­lege Man­ag­er for Build­ing Services.

Kirsty Walsh
Kirsty spoke to BBC East Midlands Today about encouraging more females into construction and STEM careers, as part of International Women's Day.

Engi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion isn’t all about hard hats and con­struc­tion sites, they are fast-paced, inno­v­a­tive indus­tries with new tech­nolo­gies and tech­niques being intro­duced all the time. 

These indus­tries are expand­ing quick­ly and require peo­ple with a vari­ety of skillsets and from all dif­fer­ent back­grounds – both male and female. They involve prac­ti­cal and aca­d­e­m­ic abil­i­ties, and the range of job oppor­tu­ni­ties are vast. 

It’s the respon­si­bil­i­ty of train­ing providers like our­selves to help break­down the stereo­types and mis­con­cep­tions, because for females to dis­miss careers in STEM and con­struc­tion would be an extreme­ly missed oppor­tu­ni­ty, both for them and for the future of these sectors. 

 — Kirsty Walsh

Deb­o­ra stud­ied a Lev­el 3 BTEC Extend­ed Diplo­ma in Engi­neer­ing at the College’s High­fields cam­pus and pro­gressed to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Not­ting­ham where she is now study­ing Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing. She dreams of run­ning her own engi­neer­ing firm one day, and said: 

Debora Bsw

I think girls still have mis­con­cep­tions of engi­neer­ing, but I would urge any female inter­est­ed in this area to con­sid­er it as a career option. I’m so hap­py I chose to and I’m excit­ed for where it will take me in the future. 

 — Deb­o­ra
Published on:
  • 11th March 2022 (2:27 PM)
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