A COLLEGE is introducing teenage girls to the possibilities of a career in engineering in a bid to close both the gender and skills gaps.

With women making up less than 6 per cent of engineers in the UK, Hartlepool College teamed up with the Women’s Engineering Society to run a taster day of activities to promote engineering as a potential career to 14 to 16-year-old girls.

The UK needs to double its intake of all engineering students to have a chance to plug the skills gap, with the country estimated to be short of 55,000 engineers every year.

Hartlepool College of Further Education hosted the event having built up the reputation of being a superb training base for female engineers in areas such as automotive, manufacturing, aerospace and fabrication.

Head of School for Engineering Michael Casey said: “This event is key to addressing the gender imbalance of students on engineering programmes.

“There is a national shortage in all sectors of engineering and we have found that our female students are always extremely studious, achieve high results and have won a large number of awards at the College in recent years.

“We have two female engineers teaching in our faculty, Jane Clark and Helen Gott, who we must thank for playing a major part in organising the event.

“Both have a wealth of experience in industry which they pass onto students, who take a lot of inspiration from their enthusiasm and knowledge in different engineering disciplines.”

Activities included testing metals to destruction in the College’s Materials Laboratory, designing and building electrical circuits and finding out how to plan major projects such as a new building.

The young visitors were also taken to visit some of the top engineering companies the College works in partnership with, such as Caterpillar, Omega Plastics, NSK and TMD Friction.

Mr Casey added: “To a lot of the 2,000+ employers Hartlepool College has worked with over the past five decades we’ve become known simply as ‘The Engineering College’.

“Engineers make the world around us, and we make engineers.

“We’ve seen some real talent and hard work on show, and we hope that we’ve inspired a lot of these young women to come back to Hartlepool College so that they can fulfil their engineering potential.”

For more information on Hartlepool College and its engineering provision, call Student Services on 01429 295000 or search online for @hartlepoolfe.