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Government funding supports career development for female engineers

The government’s department for Business Innovation and Skills (Bis) has announced that addressing the gender imbalance in engineering is the focus of one of three new funding calls to support development of careers in engineering.

Bis has said that the funding has been developed as a result of the Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, which outlined that substantially increasing the number of engineers would help the UK economy.

In the report, Perkins called for government to “invite employers to put forward innovative proposals to develop engineering skills in sectors suffering acute skills shortages”. A key element of his analysis on ways to increase the number of engineers focused on the gender imbalance in engineering and the potential to significantly increase the stock of engineers by improving the proportion of women working in engineering jobs.

The funding is designed specifically to support companies to offer training that will bring women into the engineering profession – either early in their career or later if they are returning to the profession after a career break – and to increase the potential of women to advance in an engineering career.

The second funding call has been launched in parallel and is to to improve engineering careers more generally. A third funding call, later this year, is likely to centre on developing engineering skills specifically in small companies.

Bids under both funding calls must be made by 5 December this year with £10M for the women in engineering initiative and a further £10M for the parallel funding call with minimum grants of £40,000 available for delivery of training up until 2017.

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