AESSEAL, a manufacturer of mechanical seals and support systems, has joined forces with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to address the skills crisis in the industry, by awarding a £50,000 grant to the University of Sheffield.
The donation was unveiled alongside Engineering Is, a campaign by the university’s engineering faculty, which will seek to encourage more young people into the field. The fund will be used to increase the number of women studying and working in engineering, who figures show currently make up nine per cent of the workforce.
The IMechE will distribute the money over a two-year period to fund various initiatives ranging from engaging children at primary school, to recruiting and retaining female talent at the university and facilitating the progress of female academics into professorial roles.
With the UK facing a shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers, the university will aim to eliminate barriers to engineering for female students with a four-week physics catch-up programme for those who did not study the subject at A-level.
Stephen Shaw, engineering director at AESSEAL said: “[We] are very proud to support women in engineering and the University of Sheffield. It’s something that we’re excited to get involved in and that we need to do more of.
“We invest heavily in our infrastructure in terms of machines and, if our people are our greatest asset, then we don’t have enough women, so we need to do something about that.”
Dr Rachael Rothman, faculty director for Women in Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “Engineering is a hugely varied and exciting career and through this project we aim to provide role models so many more children want to be engineers when they grow up.
“In terms of engineering progression, only eight per cent of engineering professors are female and we aim to increase this to 20 per cent by 2025 in line with the proportion of females lower down the career ladder.”
Jon Hilton, president of the IMechE said: “Given the engineering skills shortage, we cannot afford to miss out on the talent and ingenuity found in 51 per cent of the population. We would like to thank AESSEAL for supporting the valuable work of the University of Sheffield to support female engineers.”