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JCB Academy tackles the gender balance issue in engineering apprenticeships head on

The first of the University Technical Colleges (UTCs), JCB Academy, which specialises in engineering and is a member of WISE, has been told by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator that setting aside half of its places for female students breaches the Equality Act 2010. The school changed its admission policy last year to redress the position of the year before, when girls took up just 11 of the 120 places. We are in discussion with JCB Academy, who are members of WISE, about how they and other UTCs can tackle the under-representation of girls without falling foul of the law. Contact WISE associate Fay Best for further information.

Paula Gwinnett, Director of Engineering at The JCB Academy said;

“The JCB Academy is a pioneering educational institution achieving superb outcomes for young men and women. We are on a mission – Developing the Engineers and business leaders of the future - but the only future that makes sense is one where all of our talents are brought to bear on the technological challenges that we face. We need more Engineers and we need Engineers with a diverse range of skills and perspectives – that means that we need more women engineers too.

As an educational institution we do all the usual outreach and open days, we have ‘Girls into Engineering’ events and even invite their mums! But we need to do something to shift the perception that Engineering is no place for a every tool at our disposal. If we were talking about any other profession than Engineering where women were so woefully under-represented there would be outrage – If paradigms can be shifted in medicine, law and journalism then why not in Engineering? No one disputes our ‘laudable aim’ we just need to bring all of our creativity and talent to engineering a solution.”