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Working with employers

The team has developed expertise in supporting employers wishing to recruit more women into the science engineering and technology sectors. Our strength is in offering tailored support to organisations who have varying levels of experience of promoting gender equality. Employer organisations are often aware of the business benefits of a diverse workforce and wish to work with the team to find out how they can recruit and retain more girls and women.

Work experience

On a site visitWork experience placements can be a contributing factor when young people make their career choices and providing a positive experience of SET is one way to encourage new entrants into these careers. The team has a reputation for developing quality programmes of work experience and is able to support other organisations wishing to use work placements to encourage girls into careers related to science, technology, engineering and maths.

School work experience placements offer an ideal opportunity to encourage development of career thinking and learning for young people - to increase their self-awareness and help them identify potential strengths and personal preferences. The team has worked with organisations and schools in creating programmes which provide a sound basis for exploring personal preferences as well as developing employability skills and the ability to understand labour markets. WiSET also offer a work experience scheme themselves.


Employer Case Study

Upskilling support staff in engineering companies

CAD Women

Our Introduction to Computer Aided Design Course
Despite the credit crunch, local engineering employers still face serious skills shortages. Those that survive the recession will recognise that they need to find new and innovative ways to train staff to prepare for recovery. The Women in SET team, in close collaboration with Faculty of ACES Engineering Design Group, offered one pioneering solution to training through the 'Introduction to Computer Aided Design' course.

The first Introduction to CAD course took place in July 2008, and was so successful that several students went on to further study at College or in Higher Education. The recent re-run of the course in January 2009 looks likely to have similar results.

The course was designed especially for female employees working in administrative and supporting roles in the engineering sector. It intended to progress their careers, providing them with CAD skills which they could take back into their workplace, developing their skills and confidence.

This innovative opportunity, funded by Higher Futures, the South Yorkshire Lifelong Learning Network, was created by the Women in SET team at SHU. It was based on a tried and tested model which demonstrated that there is a vast pool of untapped talent amongst women in administrative roles in Built Environment organisations. The outcomes of our CAD course have shown that a similar initiative in the engineering sector will pay dividends.

To quote one participant;
‘As from today I will plan my future in engineering CAD. I am more confident that I am able to take further courses - and that engineering is not just a man's world.'

The team are planning to build on the success of this initiative by offering a follow-on course in Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM), enabling women to add to their skills.

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Employer Case Study

Frank Haslam Milan - Building for Success


During half term week in October 2007, 17 girls from three Doncaster schools tried their hand at being Quantity Surveyors at Sheffield Hallam University. The construction company Frank Haslam Milan, based in Doncaster, won an EDGE Award for its work with young people. Through this award they worked with the Women in SET team in CSE to encourage girls to keep their options open and consider non-traditional careers.

The week-long course involved site visits and lots of hands-on work to give the girls a broad view of the careers available in the construction sector. The girls ranged from age 14 - 17 and were from Balby Carr Community College, Ridgewood School and Hayfield School, all based in Doncaster.

The construction industry needs talented people and the girls on the Building for Success in Quantity Surveying course went through a competitive selection process to secure their places. They all showed fantastic commitment by giving up their free time during half term and completing assessed workbooks to show their understanding.

We hope that the course has helped all the girls involved to think about the different careers within the sector. In fact, one girl has now been selected to become a trainee Quantity Surveyor for Frank Haslam Milan.

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Employer Case Study

Symmetry Medical

The WiSET Team has worked with Symmetry Medical on a number of initiatives since 2006.  The company took part in the Wider Horizons work experience project, offering engineering placements for schoolgirls in a supportive environment with positive role models on hand (female and male).  Work placements for women returners have been offered in the past and the company is always open to new initiatives aimed at recruiting women and girls.  Colleagues at Symmetry Medical have presented at conferences and events with WiSET staff and the company's commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce is evident through their engagement in a range of activities, which they are always proud to showcase.

Symmetry Medical is keen to encourage applications from a wide range of applicants and as a result of working with WiSET the company has engaged in activities and special projects in local schools.  This has led to the company encouraging their employees to become STEM Ambassadors, supporting schools in the promotion of STEM to girls and boys.

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