It's talent not gender that matters – AMRC Training Centre Director, Nikki Jones
The world of engineering provides one of the best paid and rewarding careers you can have. It offers an incredible variety of job roles, has excellent prospects and can even lead to foreign travel.
Yet, even today, stereotyping is still the main reason for the lack of women in engineering. There are many bright women who are excellent at maths and sciences but still do not choose engineering because the profession is perceived to be dominated by men, and so cannot see themselves as engineers.
Perhaps this is because young people are not given enough information about the sector and the fantastic opportunities available to them and maybe there is a real misconception of what engineers do. Engineering isn’t all about dirty jobs and taking engines apart. There are hundreds of careers on offer, from aerospace design engineers to automotive project management and technology development in the medical sector
Our apprentices say that “it is talent not gender that matters” and this is also our philosophy at the AMRC Training Centre. We are committed to breaking down the stereotypes and help change the perception of engineering for young women to encourage them into this exciting sector; and this is evident by the growing number of young women we have at the Training Centre.
One thing we know for a fact is that women are equally talented at performing engineering or manufacturing processes and we work extremely hard to attract the brightest talent and encourage both women and men to enter the industry. We provide facilities and an environment in which everyone can thrive and learn and we know that the companies we work with see the value in having a balanced workforce and the positive impact that this can have on their organisations.
Much is being done to attract all genders into STEM subjects and the perception of engineering as a profession is improving. There is no doubt that we are moving forward but there is much more to be done and this needs to start within schools where young inquisitive minds are open to all opportunities.
At the AMRC Training Centre we work with our local schools to provide events throughout the year and summer camps so that young people can have a real taste of what engineering and manufacturing is all about. Many of those attending our camps then apply for our apprenticeship programmes. We work tirelessly to ensure that they are then matched up to the right pathway and into the right job.
The AMRC Training Centre is quite unique in that it is part of the University of Sheffield, a Russell Group University that enables an individual to seamlessly progress from an apprenticeship to a degree apprenticeship programme whilst being supported by the employer throughout. Last year 100 per cent of our apprentices remained in full time employment after finishing their apprenticeship programme with many continuing onto a foundation degree programme with us.
This year some of those will stay with us for a further year to gain a full degree. In the near future we will also have a post graduate degree apprenticeship programme available, whichall be achieved with the support of our sponsor companies, or apprentice employers.
Our apprenticeship programmes offers individuals the opportunity to gain academic qualifications throughout their apprenticeship that are equal to those offered by full time study, but also provides the real work experience and practical skills in demand in industry right now. This is the significance of the apprenticeship programme at the AMRC Training Centre and what better way to get into this fantastic career.
Many of our apprentices move through the ranks quickly and work independently within their organisations, producing work based projects that make a real difference to the productivity within their companies. Our employers truly value our apprenticeship programmes and work hand in hand with the AMRC Training Centre to develop highly skilled individuals and support us by advising on new programme developments that enables us to be at the forefront of the sector at all times.
AMRC Training Centre Director, Nikki Jones