10 July 2019

South Ribble students take the wheel as future female engineers


A group of 30 female students from across South Ribble got a taste of what being a future engineer was like and how this career path could benefit them, thanks to an inspiring event hosted by advanced automotive manufacturer, Leyland Trucks.

Panel Discussion with Female Leyland Employees
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To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day [Sunday 23 June], the young women aged 15 to 16 spent the day at the Leyland Trucks production facility to see first-hand the exciting diversity of careers in engineering and manufacturing, whilst breaking down any stereotypes that may prevent them, and other young females, from entering the sector.

As part of the day, the students met with a number of female employees at Leyland Trucks, including software engineers, mechanical engineers, apprentices and purchasers, and heard about the variety of pathways into the industry, be that work experience, apprenticeships, graduate opportunities and more.

The participants also took part in various educational activities to spark their engineering ambitions, including a 3D CAD demonstration that showed how the trucks of the future are being designed in-house.

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Year 10 student at Preston Muslim Girls High School, Kira Taylor, said: “I found the day really interesting, as I’d never really thought about how trucks are made and how much technology goes into it. I really liked seeing the production line as everyone works together in a team.

Schools and employers need to do more days like this. Many girls think that engineering is a ‘boys’ job’, but when you come and see it in person, you see that it’s really diverse.”

The students also toured Leyland Trucks’ world-leading, innovation-led production line, where more than 75 DAF trucks are assembled each day by its 1,000+ workforce.

Rachel Seedall, student support and welfare officer at Balshaw’s Church of England High School, added: “The event has offered a fantastic opportunity to the students. The tour was brilliant because the girls were right there in the thick of it and could see the women on the production line working in all of the various areas. The key take-away is how many different careers there are available at Leyland Trucks and the various routes you can go down to start a career in engineering.”

International Women in Engineering Day works to raise the profile of female engineers, celebrate their achievements and success, and highlight the range of exciting career opportunities in the sector.

Currently, the UK has the least number of female engineers in Europe and is facing increasing competition within this limited talent pool, as employers continue to seek highly-skilled engineers to employ within roles and projects across a variety of sectors. 

Leyland Trucks is one of a number of employers within Lancashire and the wider global manufacturing sector that is working to attract a more diverse talent pool of employees. Since the start of the decade, the number of female staff employed by Leyland Trucks has grown by 50%, and is reaping the benefits associated, including enhanced collaboration and fresh thinking.

James Jepson, HR & Training Manager at Leyland Trucks, concluded: “Around just one in every 10 engineers are female, which shows just how important it is that employers, such as ourselves, work to break down these barriers and create healthy workforces that are more diverse and inclusive.

We want every young girl in Lancashire to grow up knowing that there are vast opportunities for them here at Leyland Trucks and in the wider sector, which is why hosting events like these are extremely important to us. Breaking down the outdated views within our industry and challenging these stereotypes is a major focus, to ensure gender, race, background and more, never play a part in limiting a person’s ambitions.

The female students who attended are a credit to their schools and we hope that both the engineering sector and Leyland Trucks play a part in their future career decisions.”

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