Engineering employers should look further afield for work experience candidates and use the process to bring a diverse range of people into the industry, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering.
A guide published by the body’s Diversity Leadership Group said that many placements were offered to family and friends of existing employees, and those who already know they wanted to be in engineering.
The publicaiton outlines successful work experience models, advises on how to prepare staff and students in advance, and details ways to make the experience as positive as possible.
It calls for proactive action to encourage greater engagement with students from diverse social and demographic backgrounds, and recommends taking students who are actively trying to make up their minds about career options.
It warns that a poor experience can put off potential future engineers, and that engaging a student prior to the start of a placement, by encouraging research about the business and their own objectives, is beneficial. Case studies, sample documents and templates can be downloaded and adapted by individual employers for their own work experience programmes.
Engineering UK chief executive Paul Jackson, who chaired the group that developed the guide, said: “If we are to widen the talent pool to meet the demand for skills, we need work experience programmes that offer girls and boys from all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds a real insight into careers in engineering.
“A more representative and diverse workforce will not only address skills shortages but improve the range of perspectives from which future engineers draw inspiration.”
Engineering work experience, an employer’s guide is available to download.