Opinion

Role models can help women into engineering

By Nina Sparks

- Last updated on GMT

Role models can help women into engineering
Nina Sparks, Pladis general manager at the McVitie’s bakery in London, discusses the need of role models in food and drink engineering to encourage more women join the industry.

On 23 June, International Women in Engineering Day will shine a light on an area that has been under-represented for women for several years. This year’s theme, #TransformtheFuture, celebrates the achievements of women in engineering and encourages young female talent to explore the exciting career opportunities available.

Even though the engineering industry is now more diverse than ever, there is still much to be done to boost female uptake. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%.

Changing perceptions

Many young women think of engineering roles as dirty and manual, but in fact, being creative, a team player and an excellent communicator are some of the key skills needed. We’re constantly challenged to find solutions to complex problems.

At Pladis, there is a truly outstanding pool of female talent, and we take pride in highlighting their stories. While here, I’ve worked in several areas, managing production lines and multi-million-pound capital projects. For me, the best part about engineering is seeing projects from concept right through to practical use.

Communication and education

It’s important that we help more role models within the engineering sector communicate, educate and actively encourage young women into the profession. Pladis is committed to attracting a diverse array of talent through mentoring schemes and networking sessions. As it’s crucial for young people to gain experience early on, we also offer apprenticeship and graduate programmes.

I believe 2019 will be one of great progress for women across all UK industries. At Pladis, we have launched ‘Being Me’, a network that aims to celebrate an inclusive and diverse workforce. I am proud to be leading the gender workstream within the manufacturing sites and I hope the industry will embrace this year’s challenge to Transform the Future.

Related topics: Bakery, People & Skills

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