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McInnes marks Women in Engineering day

June 24, 2014 2:49 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

To mark the first National Women in Engineering Day, on Monday NorthAlison McInnesAlison McInnes East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes visited Power Jacks in Ellon, a growing engineering company with customers in 60 countries.

Ms McInnes met machine technician Kylie Robb, one of an increasing number of women who are working in engineering.

"It was great to meet a young woman who really enjoys her work and has the opportunity to further her career," said Ms McInnes.

"Too many people, especially girls, dismiss engineering as dirty, boring or not for them. The reality is actually it's interesting and challenging and leads to an exciting and fulfilling career.

"At the moment boys are four times more likely to be encouraged to study engineering than their female classmates. Kylie is a great role model for young girls and we discussed the need to raise awareness in schools about engineering as a career choice.

"At present the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, less than 10%. Only 400 females started an engineering apprenticeship in 2012 compared with 12,880 males - that means there is a great deal of untapped talent out there among women.

"Enabling them to realise their potential is as much about growing the UK economy as it is about social justice: skills shortages can hold back companies, and a lack of diversity can damage competitiveness - common sense tells us that a diverse work force, including gender diversity, results in a far greater innovation.

"The UK will need 87,000 engineers qualified at level 4+ and 69,000 qualified at level 3 in each year between now and 2020 to meet demand in the industry.

"I was delighted to meet Kylie and hear about her experiences at Power Jacks, a company with a proud engineering heritage dating from the earliest years of the 20th century in Fraserburgh."