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Female training schemes win government cash

Two initiatives to train women in engineering skills have won government funding.

Two initiatives to train women engineers have won government funding.

Consultants Atkins and Hyder Consulting UK will share £104,000 which will go towards schemes to boost training opportunities for women employees.

Both firms - which won a competition run by the Employer Ownership of Skills Fund - will match the government funding they receive.

A study last autumn by think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research said that women made up just 7% of the engineering workforce in the UK.

“With UK manufacturing on the up, and major upgrades to our transport links and infrastructure underway, there’s been no better time to enter an engineering career,” said skills minister Nick Boles.

“To keep the UK at the forefront of engineering innovation we need the skills of the whole population, and that is why it is vital to capitalise on the contribution of women to the sector.”

Atkins will train 100 women to aid their return to engineering after a career break.

The consultant said the funding would help it “retain and progress the skills, expertise and knowledge” of 100 female designers, engineers and project managers between July 2015 and March 2017.

It said its programme would specifically target women who were on maternity leave and preparing to return to work, or had resumed their role within the last six months.

The programme will cover a number of practical elements such as time management, handover planning and adjusting to flexible working.

It will also explore themes such as personal motivation, career development goals and finding the right work-life balance.

“We know that returning to work after maternity leave or moving to flexible working to accommodate a young family can be a struggle,” said Atkins chief executive Uwe Krueger.

“By investing in this programme we will make it easier for parents to manage their work-life balance and therefore continue their career development.”

Hyder UK will train 80 female engineers to help them advance their careers. It is planning to launch its Women’s Leadership Development Programme in May.

Hyder parent Arcadis UK’s operations director Chantelle Ludski said the scheme built on other initiatives carried out by Hyder to promote diversity.

“For many years now Hyder has made it a priority to become an organisation that attracts and retains the best talent by creating an open, flexible and tolerant place for people to work, develop and achieve their career ambition,” she said.

“The Women’s Leadership Development Programme that will be facilitated by this funding aims to encourage our female technical staff to strive for senior positions within the company and smash the industry barriers through a range of coaching, training and mentoring.”

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