Engineering desperately needs to attract more women, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said last week.
He said the industry needed to recruit a broad range of talented people to ensure it had the skills it needed for the near future.
Speaking in London at the Construction News Summit, organised by NCE’s sister title, McLoughlin highlighted the £70M of transport investment earmarked for the current five year parliamentary term.
“To deliver the transport projects I’ve outlined, making the workforce more diverse and inclusive isn’t just beneficial - it’s imperative,” he said.
“For example, we desperately need to attract more women into engineering and construction.
“Diversity is evolving today. It’s not about tokenism or political correctness. And it’s not just about fairness and equality of opportunity. It’s about making industry better.
“It’s about attracting the brightest and best people from all sections of society. And it’s about the make-up of industry reflecting the customer base.”
McLoughlin said there was a long-term challenge to change the way the industry is promoted.
“We need to explain the social value of what we do,” he said. “How transport binds together our society. How the railway helps us reduce carbon emissions by taking traffic off the roads. How engineers and the construction industry change the lives of millions of people. And we also need to sell the value of engineering qualifications.”