Working together to support women in transport

Posted: 23 July 2019 | | No comments yet

June was a month packed full of activity for Women in Transport, kicking off the month with the joint APPG Summer Reception, holding its quarterly board meeting, Anna Delvecchio made history, they challenged themselves at the Big Transport and Logistics Challenge and ended the month with a celebration of International Women in Engineering Day at a brilliant members’ event hosted by Atkins.

On 19 June, Women in Transport was privileged to be invited to a roundtable of senior female leaders across transport, convened by Bernadette Kelly, the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Transport (DfT). The roundtable focused on a discussion around the barriers and opportunities for women working in transport. Representatives from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford, Heathrow Airport, Virgin Atlantic, Network Rail, the Major Projects Association, Women in Maritime, Women in Aviation and Women in Rail were among those present.

The DfT estimates there will be around 341,000 unfilled jobs in the transport sector by 2033. The DfT’s Infrastructure Skills Strategy aims to achieve gender parity with the working population by 2030 acknowledging that hiring more women is essential for the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects like HS2 and the Heathrow expansion.

Our president, Katie Hulland, our APPG lead, Jo Field and I represented Women in Transport at the roundtable. Key points of discussion included unconscious bias, challenging perceptions, and parent policies. We felt that there was a real opportunity to make a difference and create change together from this positive and productive discussion.

Katie Hulland, President, Women in Transport said:

“We were delighted to be part of this roundtable, Women make up 47% of the UK workforce yet remain underrepresented in the transport sector. We are passionate about empowering women working in transport to maximise their potential; running a varied events programme including unique experiences, professional development and networking, providing an annual mentoring and acting as secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for women in transport. We welcome the call to action from the DfT to increase the availability of opportunities to women in transport and to work together to tackle the barriers preventing women from joining the sector. We’re really looking forward to working with the DfT, industry and other member organisations to drive positive change.”

It is encouraging to see the strong progress on diversity in the third annual report from the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT) published on 11 July. The statistics show that BAME representation is now over a fifth of apprentice intake, representing a 56% proportional increase over the last two years. Women’s representation has also seen a positive improvement, with women now making up 15.4% of technical and engineering apprenticeship starts, up from 10% two years ago, representing a 54% proportional increase.

In transport as a sector, we still have some way to go to match the national average employment of women which stands at 47%. The statistics in the latest STAT report show that women currently represent 18% of the transport sector workforce with variances across modes.

All data derived from Annual Population Survey statistics and relates to total transport workforce. Icons created by Graphic Tigers for the Noun Project.

Commenting on the latest report, Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

Drawing from the widest pool of talent is vital for any industry, particularly where there are skills shortages. 41,000 people are needed in roads by 2025, and rail needs 50,000 extra people by 2033 to deliver planned investment.

On June 23, International Women in Engineering Day, the government celebrated the success of the Year of Engineering campaign in increasing the awareness of opportunities in engineering. The campaign delivered an estimated 5.1 million experiences of engineering for young people in 2018 – far exceeding the one million target.

Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, Bernadette Kelly, said:

“We want to challenge traditional perceptions of engineering to ensure our transport industry has the skills it needs for the future.

This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s necessary for engineering and transport to thrive. We simply need more engineers and people in the industry as investment grows. Currently, we’re not making use of a huge section of society and that can’t continue.

Building on progress and productive conversations with industry, I hope to help women across the country and of all ages see there are amazing careers in transport – from building site to boardroom.”

Women in Transport marked International Women in Engineering Day with an evening focusing on the importance of putting people at the heart of transport infrastructure design, hosted at SNC-Lanvalin’s Atkins. We were pleased to welcome some of our new members from Mott MacDonald at the event.

Mott MacDonald has funded 21 corporate memberships for women at different levels and across disciplines in its transport and infrastructure business and has also partnered with WORK180 to increase diversity in their talent pool by reaching more women job seekers and offering transparency on their workplace policies.

Did you see the video series of our patron, Mark Wild, and Women in Transport, Milda Plaidaite, discussing engineering, what different generations can learn from each other and how work together to promote inclusive workplaces? You can watch the four short videos here.

Finally, in case you missed it, check out this video featuring one of our fabulous Women in Transport members, Isabel Coman, who also attended the roundtable and is passionate about being an engineer and working in this great industry.

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