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A Humber initiative designed to encourage women and girls to consider engineering careers is supporting next year’s government-led Year of Engineering campaign which aims to tackle lack of diversity in the profession.

Louise Johnson, CAD Apprentice at Spencer Group

Green Port Hull’s Women into Manufacturing and Engineering (WiME) addresses the ongoing gender imbalance in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Eight women have been recruited since it was launched last year and it now has the support of 21 major employers from across the Humber region.

Now, as it enters its second year, WiME is taking part in 2018’s Year of Engineering which will see hundreds of industry partners work together to offer a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering to young people throughout the year.

Dr Kirsty Clode, Chair of WiME said:

“Using the experiences of women currently thriving in the industry has been instrumental to the success of WiME, so we are looking forward to offering support to the Year of Engineering’s nation-wide push to tackle the skills gap. The aspiration to offer a million direct experiences of engineering fits with our own very closely. We hope the faces of our WiME campaign will be able to feature on the national stage and encourage women in our region and beyond to find out what careers in the sector are all about.”

Louise Johnson, 18, from Great Hatfield, is one of the eight women who secured roles via the WiME initiative. The former Hornsea School and Language College pupil began her job as a CAD apprentice at Spencer Group just weeks after receiving her A-level results.

Louise speaks of her engineering experiences in glowing terms:

“I’m loving every minute. As a design apprentice, I’m part of the big team which service the various different sectors Spencer specialise in, such as mechanical and structural engineering.

“My advice to young people during the Year of Engineering, particularly school-age girls taking an interest for the first time - never think you can’t do it. You might look up at massive awe-inspiring structures and think ‘I can never aspire to working on something like that,’ but you absolutely can.”

Yvonne Moir, Head of Human Resources at Spencer Group said:

“At Spencer Group, we firmly believe anybody with the talent should have the opportunity to forge a career in engineering, and we are proud to support initiatives like WiME and Year of Engineering which help get that message out there. There are thousands of young women like Louise waiting to be inspired, and only through creative campaigns like these can we help them achieve their full potential.”

Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady said:

“It’s great to hear the core principles of WiME in addressing the gender gap in engineering are also at the heart of a national campaign. In the Humber area, our initiative has not only proved a success with women, but has also provided a new recruitment avenue for local employers and promoted the variety of exciting careers and prospects in manufacturing and engineering. The Year of Engineering should open up even more opportunities for our WiME initiative and we are sure our region has a significant part to play as we move into 2018.”

The next WiME event will be in March 2018. Check social media for further updates. For the latest conversation on the Year of Engineering follow #YoE.