Iain Elliott, Chief Executive of HETA, said the increase in the numbers of female apprentice engineers is a reward for the company’s efforts in getting a powerful message across in schools, colleges and at careers events.
He added that the recruitment campaign for young women and men has been boosted by the opening of HETA’s new £4.5 million Advanced Engineering Training Centre at Dansom Lane, Hull.
HETA welcomed 19 young women among the cohort of around 170 apprentices who began their courses last month at the sites in Hull, Stallingborough and Foxhills in Scunthorpe.
“It starts with letting girls know when they are still at school and college that engineering is not male dominated and that they can make an important contribution. In our experience they make really good engineers.
“The latest figures show that our efforts could be paying off but it’s something we really have to work at, to convince a young girl that they can actually do engineering and be good at it.
“We talk to schools a lot. We go in and present at careers events and assemblies and we bring girls in for taster sessions so they can actually experience what we do. It helps that we have this nice, new, clean, modern centre. A safe working environment with better welfare facilities, better classrooms, better learning resources, everything.
“That will attract more people in – men and women. Our first parents evening this year went down a storm because it was parents who had seen the facility at Copenhagen Road and who were impressed with what we have here. There’s definitely a wow factor.”
Amy Conroy, who lives in Bridlington and followed in the footsteps of her brother, Jack, to join HETA, said:
“I am really comfortable in an environment like this because everybody gets on together, there are more girls than before and we don’t feel outnumbered.
“I was a bit worried that people might think there are things girls can’t do but at HETA they are used to the idea of girls coming into engineering and they treat us exactly the same as the boys.”
Tegan Finnerty, from Hull, added: “Girls definitely get a great opportunity by coming here. We are treated with a lot of respect, the same as the boys. We are not outcasts.
“In some places people underestimate you because you are a girl but they don’t do that here. It’s even better than I expected. I was a bit anxious about working with all the guys but everybody in the group is fine”.