Year of Engineering

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th January 2018.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire 12:00 am, 11th January 2018

What steps the Government are taking to encourage more girls and women to get involved with the 2018 Year of Engineering.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Year of Engineering is an opportunity to tackle historical gender stereotypes. Throughout 2018, the Year of Engineering campaign will highlight the variety and creativity of engineering to improve the understanding of what engineers do and of the enormous opportunities that a career in engineering offers both to young men and young women.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

Engineering is a vital employment sector for residents of Mid Derbyshire, both in small and medium-sized enterprises and in larger companies like Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and Toyota. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on which external partners in Derby have signed up to the Year of Engineering campaign?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

My hon. Friend has almost answered the question for me. She is right that Rolls-Royce, Bombardier Transportation and Toyota have all pledged to support the Year of Engineering campaign through activities in schools, both nationwide and in the Derby area.

Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

One of the biggest barriers to women and girls entering careers in engineering and physics is the perceptions and expectations of parents. What work is the Minister doing during the Year of Engineering to encourage parents to look at the career options?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The hon. Lady is quite right. We have been successful since 2010 because, in England, GCSE entries by girls in physics have risen from 50,600 in 2010 to 66,700 this year, and the number of girls entering A-level physics has risen from 5,800 in 2010 to 6,947 in 2017. Overall, the number of girls taking STEM A-levels has increased by 20% since 2010.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee

As well as ensuring that careers advice encourages more women into engineering, will my right hon. Friend look at financial incentives and at how the apprenticeship levy is working to incentivise companies to employ more women in engineering?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

My right hon. Friend is quite right. We introduced the apprenticeship levy to boost the importance of apprenticeships. We delivered more than 2 million apprenticeship starts in the last Parliament and are committed to 3 million apprenticeship starts in this Parliament, because this is a Government who are committed to high-quality skills in our economy. The apprenticeship programme is part and parcel of that ambition.