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NCE Live News updates: Tuesday 10 September: Boost for women in engineering

Boost for diversity in engineering today as new survey shows profession is a rewarding career for women and new scholarship shows ‘surprising’ uptake from female students.

  • Royal Academy of Engineering survey finds majority of female engineers find their career rewarding
  • IET finds 19% of successful applicants to new scholarship are female
  • Boost for roadside developments revealed

2.40pm: Reaction to the IET scholarship

Question being asked: is the fact that one in five of the IET’s winning scholars are female students to be considered progress? For comparison purposes a rough count of last year’s ICE QUEST undergraduate scholars shows a roughly 50/50 split. Maybe the civil engineers have the edge here.

2.30pm: Reaction to the new roads policy coming in

Commenting on the Department for Transport’s new policy, The Strategic Road Network and the Delivery of Sustainable Development, WSP director Richard Hutchings said the policy would be welcomed by guidance was needed to ensure consistency of application.

“This policy will be welcomed by developers because it will speed up the approval process significantly and in some cases, establishing future enhancements and demand management at an early stage could mean major network improvements are avoided altogether. It also gives strength to the NPPF stipulation that development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the ‘residual cumulative impacts of development are severe’,” he said.

“One might question however how severity will be assessed, since the policy rightly acknowledges it will differ case to case. It would be good to see some national guidance on criteria for consistency.”

12.30pm: More from the survey:



12pm: Large scale developments adjacent to England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads are more likely to be granted permission to go ahead under new rules published by the Department for Transport today.

Easing restrictions on providing new access roads and junctions for motorways will mean that developers and local authorities will find it easier to take forward large development projects.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: “I believe that making planning decisions easier and quicker will lead to local economic growth and the creation of jobs, leading to greater prosperity.

“This policy delivers in cutting unnecessary red tape and making the planning process simpler and more straightforward for everybody involved.”

The new Transport Policy “The Strategic road Network and the Delivery of Sustainable Development” follows a public consultation undertaken in February and March this year and places greater emphasis on the Highways Agency’s role to promote economic growth and enable development. The overall balance of opinion was supportive of the proposals. No major points of contention were identified and only minor changes were required.

Key changes include:

  • Easing restrictions on new access roads and junctions on motorways. This will assist local authorities and developers to deliver strategic growth by unlocking access to large sites near motorways and major A-roads.
  • Removing the need for developers to pay for mitigation measures unless the impacts of their proposals are severe; and reducing the scale of any work that may be required as a consequence.
  • A commitment to support the delivery of developments that have been approved in a Local Plan. This will give certainty to local authorities and developers that their proposals can be realised.
  • Simplifying the mandatory requirements that must be provided at every service area and roadside facility. Sites will still be required to play their role in the essential safety and comfort of motorists – such as the availability of fuel, toilets, drinks and two hours free parking – but other issues will now to be decided by local planning and market forces.
  • Devolving decisions on the minimum spacing for service areas to the planning system, thus creating the potential for new sites which will encourage greater competition and customer choice.


10am: Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) finds almost one of five recipients of new scholarship to be female

The IET has revealed that £2M is to be invested in the UK’s up and coming engineering talent this Autumn. Diamond Jubilee Scholarships have been awarded to 540 of the UK’s top students from 382 schools starting an engineering degree at 27 UK based universities this month.

A key finding has been that 19% of the successful applicants for the Scholarship were female, which the IET describes as an excellent and surprising result considering that only 7% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female.

It hopes that it is a further indication that engineering could be opening up as a career option for women.

9.30am: New survey shows engineering is a rewarding career for women

The majority of female engineers find their career rewarding, says a new survey launched today at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The survey - Britain’s got talented female engineers- carried out by Atkins in partnership with BP, Rolls-Royce and the Royal Academy of Engineering, asked 300 female engineers what inspires them and how they think companies can work to help attract more females in the future. It reveals that over 80% are happy with their career choice and 98% find their job rewarding.

Martin Grant, chief executive of Atkins’ energy business, said: “Encouraging more girls and women into engineering is vital for the future growth of the British economy and the sustainability of many British companies.

“There have been many studies into why girls don’t choose STEM subjects at school but we haven’t seen any focused on what inspires the women who do choose a path to engineering, either at school or later. These survey results show that engineering is in fact an extremely rewarding career choice for women. However, it also shows that a lack of understanding, awareness and inspiration prohibits girls considering an engineering career, which we in industry must work together to address.”


Readers' comments (1)

  • I don't think it reflects well on our industry that in 2013 not even 1 in 5 of the successful applicants for an engineering scholarship are female. That is a very similar proportion to the number of female undergraduates on my degree course over 20 years ago. So there has been little or no improvement in 20+ years.

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