In response to a Girl Guides survey suggesting that almost two thirds of Guides think engineering is ‘more for men, Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) area director Lorraine Holmes says she believes manufacturers are “missing out on a vital and much needed resource that could unlock future skills shortages and help solve the issue of ageing workforces”.
Holmes, who spent 18 years with Henkel Chemical and Ameron Inc, continued: “Engineering is not just about the Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus and JCBs of this world, there’s a whole host of innovative, world class companies that make up the supply chain, yet very few young girls actually know about them.
“The Girlguiding survey provides a snapshot of what members think about industry and it doesn’t make great reading. Nearly half feel they don’t have enough knowledge of what jobs are available and 30% still feel sexism is a barrier to choosing a career in this sector.
“Interestingly, three fifths of respondents said that there wasn’t enough female role models in manufacturing and this is something we have to put right and put right quickly.”
Holmes exemplified Millennium Pressed Metal’s Anna Stevenson (pictured), who used an A-Level feasibility study to start a small ‘rapid turnaround’ business more than ten years ago.
From a small start-up in a 4,000 sq ft rented unit, she has taken the business to nearly £3m annual turnover, supplying presswork, turned parts and mechanical assemblies for end use by some of the world’s biggest global brands in automotive, construction and off highway.
Copyright Ken Hurst 2013