Manufacturing needs girl power says MAS in response to Girl Guide survey

GGMASSmaller manufacturing firms are being urged to do more to change perceptions of the sector by getting more girls interested in industrial careers.

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

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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