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Engineering women: Are they returning?

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The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) 2015 conference – 23 June 2015, London – is focusing on the theme of women returning to engineering. Evidence has shown many qualified women in STEM are not returned to the engineering sector after a career or maternity break, and these are skills that we can ill afford to lose when we face such a massive skills gap in the coming years. Not only are we losing out on these skills in engineering – skills that are often enhanced in many ways during the breaks – but we are failing to utilise the links that these women have with their local communities, schools, and other parents/influencers. With a bit of thought, organisation and encouragement we could mobilise this untapped resource and either reintroduce these skilled women to the engineering sector, or use them as ambassadors for our profession in other ways. This conference explores the opportunities and some of the best practices that are out there to access and utilise this neglected resource.  


This conference is aimed at individual women engineers as well as companies wanting to know more about current best practices in developing and retaining women employees.

During the day delegates will hear about the STEM survey that highlighted the barriers that women face in returning to work after a break from Sue Ferns of Prospect Union; from Julianne Miles (Women Returners) and Julie Thornton (Thames Tideway Tunnel) about women ‘Returnship’ programmes; we hear from Katie Perry on the Daphne Jackson Trust and ways to reintroduce women to science careers; Clem Herman on the Open University STEM Returners online course; Kate Bellingham will talk about her exciting new venture School Gate SET and Jenny Young from the Royal Academy of Engineering will talk about what Professional Engineering Institutions are doing to support their women members through the RETURN programme.

In the afternoon attendees will hear from companies including Arup, Atkins, Airbus, Make Architects, Goldman Sachs, Laing O’Rourke, National Grid and Hyder Consulting who will give us their case studies about how they have supported their employees, and from Thames Tideway Tunnel and Women Returners on the first UK engineering returnship programme. The final panel session will allow the audience to discuss the issues with panel members who have spoken during the day.

The conference sessions will be chaired by Meg Munn, Philippa Oldham (IMechE) and Kim Pamplin (P&G).

In parallel sessions WES will be offering some Continued Professional Development on Personal and Career Development from two experienced coaches in Susan Room and Carol Stewart, and will be offering WES members the chance to learn more about the Magnificent Women schools outreach programme, and how they can be involved in this in the future.

Further details can be found here:

This event takes place on National Women in Engineering Day 2015 at One Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ

    WES Members: £50 (Concessions/Career Break Members: £30)
    Non-WES Members (including WES Membership) : £90 (Concessions: £50)
    Students: £20

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