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Industry must work 'to get more women into engineering'

By Rachel Martin

Published 13/11/2015

Men outnumber women three to one in engineering sector
Men outnumber women three to one in engineering sector

Northern Ireland's economy must attract more women into careers in engineering and technology, according to the employment minister.

Currently, men outnumber women three to one in the sector here.

And employers are facing serious skills shortages which impact on productivity and competitiveness.

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry says that much work still needs to be done to help promote gender diversity within these careers and industries.

His department is backing a new initiative aimed at encouraging gender diversity in the tech and engineering sectors, along with the Equality Commission.

Dr Stephen Farry was a keynote speaker at the gender diversity business event in Belfast yesterday, and was joined by Regina Moran, chief executive of Fujitsu UK and Ireland; Rachael Ryland, head of HR projects at Atkins along with Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission.

Speaking at the event at the Stormont Hotel, Regina Moran, challenged bosses in traditionally male-dominated fields such as science, engineering and ICT, to not just aim towards gender balance in the workplace, but to aim towards inclusivity.

She highlighted that rather than using diversity targets to make up numbers, employers should embrace the benefits that come with difference.

Employment Minister Stephen Farry said: "Northern Ireland recognises that it needs an increasing number of skilled workers with qualifications in STEM subjects, if we are to drive forward the economy and raise levels of productivity and competitiveness.

"Much work is being done to promote gender diversity in these careers and industries.

"My department's policies and strategies aim to ensure that everyone is able to pursue the study path which is best for them and I have ensured that STEM skills remain an important aspect of skills provision whether the individual chooses an academic route through higher education or avails of the new higher level apprenticeship route.

Dr Wardlow said: "Bridging the skills gap will need the widest possible pool of talented and well qualified applicants possible, so it's important not just that girls are encouraged to think of a STEM career by their schools and their families, but that they know that rewarding careers are genuinely open to them, with the reassurance that they will be supported at work to contribute to their fullest potential."

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Men to women in the engineering and technology sector

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