It's National Women in Engineering Day, a day dedicated to engineers joining forces and raising the profile of women in engineering. It's also a crucial time to inspire the engineers of the future, especially girls, to think about engineering as a modern, creative and exciting career choice.
Since last year's National Women in Engineering Day and during my time as President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), although there has been an increase in the proportion of women within the sector - from six per cent to nine per cent - it is still a relentlessly low number. I looked at the data of the IET's 167,000 members and found that there are actually more engineers in the IET's membership called David and John than there are female members in total. This lack of diversity can't be good for the profession as we strive to make a difference in the world.
To help entice more girls into engineering, I have been working with the IET on the Engineer a Better World campaign for well over a year now. The campaign is aimed at parents and young people, especially girls, to encourage them to think about engineering as an exciting and relevant career choice. I wanted to use this year's National Women in Engineering Day as an opportunity to speak about an integral part of the campaign - Engineering Open House Day, now in its second year.
Similar to National Women in Engineering Day, Engineering Open House day is all about industry professionals joining forces to showcase the inspiring and interesting jobs available within the sector. It is designed to be a fun day out to provide families and children with a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at some of the UK's most celebrated innovative organisations such as ITN Productions, Sky, BT, Tower Bridge and the National Theatre. We want to encourage parents to support children with an interest in engineering and technology and allow parents to support their kids if they show an interest in pursuing a career in this industry.
The nationwide events are taking place on Friday 29 July and will be a fantastic chance for parents and young people to fully immerse themselves in an engineering experience. Most importantly, attendees will have the chance to speak directly to engineering experts to find out more about their career backgrounds and why the industry appealed to them.
There is no easy solution to bridge the skills gap the industry faces. But I hope that National Women in Engineering Day and Engineering Open House Day continue to spark interest and inspiration in many young minds for years to come, helping to generate the talent and skills the industry needs for the future.
To find out more about the events on offer for Engineering Open House Day and register for places, please visit: http://www.engineer-a-better-world.org/engineering-open-house-day.