Engineering experts and educators have teamed up with coaches from Scarlets Rugby club to tackle the issue of gender inequality in traditionally male-dominated industries.
Female students from West Wales are taking part in the two-day event, organised by leading skills body the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) in conjunction with Valero Pembroke Refinery, Pembrokeshire College and Scarlets Rugby. The event aims to kick off female pupils’ interest in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
Taking place on 4 and 5 October, ‘Tackling Gender Inequality’ will show Year 8 students from schools across Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire the benefits of a career in engineering and the skills they need to succeed. The students will meet and train with female Scarlets players and coaches at Parc-y-Scarlets, in Llanelli, to discover what it takes to succeed as part of a team. They will also try hands-on engineering activities at Pembrokeshire College’s new CAMPUS 6 in Haverfordwest, and visit Pembroke Refinery to tour the facility and meet some of Valero’s female apprentices and engineers.
Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science Julie James AM will join the students at Pembroke Refinery to see some of the interactive demonstrations and meet participants and female Valero engineers.
Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said:
“We know that women make up just three percent of the workforce on the average engineering construction site, so it’s clear we need to do more to attract women into engineering jobs. That’s why the ECITB is sponsoring this event to show female students the opportunities for exciting and varied careers in the industry.
“It’s a great initiative, however, we know we can do more to get women involved and this starts with more female students enjoying and excelling at STEM subjects at school.”
Stephen Thornton, Valero Public Affairs Manager, said:
“Female pupils are under-represented in most STEM subjects, despite girls often outperforming boys at GCSE and A-levels. Not being able to attract female pupils to study STEM prevents young women from pursuing careers in related sectors, and prevents us in industry from getting access to the balanced and talented workforce we need. That is why Valero is pleased to support the ‘Tackling Gender Inequality’ initiative, so we can help build an industry that fully reflects all of society by countering those stereotypes that lead female pupils into thinking that a STEM education isn’t for them.”
Allistair Reynolds, Scarlets New Sponsorship Manager, said:
“The tackling gender inequality initiative is something that we’re particularly pleased to be supporting. Rugby is seen as a male-dominated industry but at the Scarlets we’re proud to encourage, support and break down the traditional stereotypes. The region’s women’s side has experienced successes in recent seasons winning the WRU Regional Championship as well as producing a number of international players for Wales Women. Over 50 girls attended our recent Girls Summer Rugby Camp, which is testament to the work that Scarlets Ladies Head Coach Daryl Morgan has undertaken alongside the region’s community team to build the profile of girls and women’s rugby in West Wales.”
David Evans, Assistant Principal at Pembrokeshire College said:
“We are delighted to be part of this important initiative. We know through experience that female students often excel in STEM subjects and that positive experiences at an early age are key to engaging female pupils in this important sector. We hope that, through events such as this, we will begin to see a shift in the number of females applying for STEM subjects and apprenticeships to begin to redress the balance in industry.”