312014Oct

Inspired by the ‘Women with Bright Ideas’ event

20141017-Women-with-Bright-Ideas

Last week I was inspired by the ‘Women with Bright Ideas’ event

The ‘Women with Bright Ideas’ event was run by EIN-SW – an ERDF funded project to develop engineering in the South-West – and one of their objectives is to promote women in engineering.

Their competition was launched on National Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June and I saw the fantastic final 8 ‘Bright Ideas’. The projects ranged from cutlery for children to a Memory Box designed for Dementia sufferers. Currently only about 9% of engineers are female. One of my burning desires is to transform career education. To promote industries that lack a skilled workforce of both men and women so that the job market matches the labour market.

We need to open up more opportunities for our young people – for them to explore and to give them the knowledge to get into these sectors. Career education does need to be transformed – it needs to inform our young people of what it is really like on the job. Making the service fit for purpose is something that the Conservative Minister for Skills Matt Hancock has been addressing. This can be done with industry visitors and videos dispelling media glamorisations of certain jobs.

Too many of our young people are not aware of their potential and the opportunities available, we do not promote vocational training enough, or the merits of technical roles. Our educators do a wonderful job but they need support. Our career service needs work to ensure that young people in Wiltshire get the best start in life. I will be inviting the Skills Minister to the Chippenham constituency to meet with local educators to offer them the opportunity to share what help and support they need and for current plans to be explained. In the mean time I will be meeting with as many people as I can who this affects – from students, parents and teachers to employers.