A national campaign, launched yesterday, is urging qualified women to return to careers in science, engineering and technology.
Official research shows 50,000 women are not currently working in the UK's science, engineering and technology (SET) industries, despite having specialist skills and training that is crucial to the economy.
The Return Campaign has been launched by the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (UKRC). The organisation hopes to help up to 1,000 women return to SET over the next three years by connecting them to a host of free services and support, including training, courses, mentoring schemes and networking organisations.
The manager of the campaign, Jane Butcher, said: “Currently only a third of SET qualified women return to jobs that utilise their expertise after taking a career break, for example to raise children. This loss is contributing to a continued skills gap in the SET industries. It represents a major concern for employers, and for women, who can feel frustrated they are not making full use of their skills and potential.”
The UKRC is hoping the Return Campaign will encourage women UK-wide to get in touch to find out more about what support is available to help them.
As part of the Return Campaign, the Open University is offering a free on-line course called Science, Engineering and Technology: A Course for Women Returners (T160). The course is currently enrolling and will start in October. It will help women plan their return and update skills. The course also provides opportunities to attend networking events, meet with potential employers, role models and mentors. The UKRC will be working with a number of key organisations over the coming three years to ensure that as many women as possible have access to the best support available to help them achieve a fulfilling career in the SET industries.
The UKRC works nationally to improve the participation and position of women in science, engineering and technology through its work with employers, government departments and key stakeholders in the SET industry. Trade