Local apprentice leads the way for women in engineering

Local Engineering Apprentice Courteney Leech is calling for more women to train within engineering after securing a challenging Apprenticeship at a local aerospace company.

Courteney, 18, currently training at Themis, Burnley College was offered the position in response to a tireless campaign to break into the industry. After sending her CV to local engineering companies, she was offered a place at a group interview for a local engineering company and triumphed over 100 other applicants. The promising Engineer said ‘I didn’t realise how competitive it would be to secure an Apprenticeship in this sector, but I was disappointed with the number of other women applying.”

The shortage of women in this male dominated field is well documented. Currently, The Women’s Engineering Society estimate only 7 per cent of the workforce is female and that this is the lowest in Europe. Business Minister Vince Cable believes this to be hampering the UK’s economy and slammed the statistic as, “An absolute disgrace.”

Furthermore, with women taking only an estimated 3.4 per cent of current Engineering and Manufacturing Apprenticeship positions, a shift in attraction, support and attitude is needed to help bridge the gap.

Themis remain committed to addressing this imbalance locally and have seen their intake of women rise in the last five years. Engaging with women about Engineering and promoting initiatives such as their ‘Enjoy-neering’ Day and National Women in Engineering Day which took place on June 23rd is helping them to slowly redress the balance.

Courteney believes the rest is down to individual candidates and that’s why she’s encouraging more women to apply for Apprenticeships. She said, “The opportunities are there for women to get into Engineering and the career path is clear. The training facilities at Themis have given me the confidence to apply my skills in the workplace, so I’d encourage any woman to consider Engineering as a profession.” Themis at Burnley College is looking to attract a diverse range of new Apprentices with an ambitious site development programme. The college is expanding their existing Centre of Engineering Excellence and Construction Learning and Training Centre in a significant expansion project increasing the industry dedicated site space by over 95%. The multi-million pound investment is due for completion in September 2014.