Opinion Former Article

New exhibition celebrates role of women in transport and engineering in the West Midlands

Encouraging future generations of women to pursue careers in transport and engineering is the aim of the ‘Innovative Women in Transport and Engineering’ exhibition sponsored by the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) being launched at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum on Thursday 15 March.

Designed to inspire Key Stage 2 primary school pupils to explore future careers in transportation and engineering, the exhibition showcases the contribution of diverse women working in the industry with strong connections to the West Midlands. The CIHT West Midlands Region is championing the skills and contribution of the colleagues featured in the exhibition.

Andreas Markides, President, CIHT says:

“I am delighted that the CIHT West Midlands Region has chosen to focus this exhibition on Innovative Women in Transport and Engineering because this is an area where we can all be proactive in effecting change. Government figures indicate that we need to recruit over 40,000 people each year to deliver housing and infrastructure needs.” 

“CIHT has developed a suite of career materials and guidance including a Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit which is the first of its kind for the sector in providing a route map to success. Our toolkit contains case studies showing what employers are doing to recruit people from a more diverse pool. Our CIHT Diversity & Inclusion Charter has been signed by over 50 organisations from across the industry and we are actively working with them to move the agenda forward.”

Sue Percy, Chief Executive, CIHT says:

“CIHT has a vision of world-class transportation infrastructure and services and to achieve this we believe that we must be representative of the people and communities we serve.

“We believe that diversity and inclusion has real benefits when we look at how we can tackle the skills shortages our industry clearly faces.”

“Skill shortages and needs have been well documented in the last couple of years but our sector is still coming to terms with what this actually means and what steps can be taken to address it. I am delighted we have chosen to focus this exhibition on Innovative Women in Transport and Engineering in the West Midlands because this is one area where we can all be proactive in effecting positive change.”

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, says:
“With women accounting for just 9% of the UK’s engineering workforce and only 4% of rail engineers, there is a clear need to encourage more women into the sector.  Exhibitions like this are hugely important in helping to drive this much-needed change by challenging perceptions and encouraging discussion and debate. It is fantastic to see that CIHT has brought together a wide range of business partners and stakeholders to deliver this exhibition.  Better diversity will help bring new perspectives and fresh-thinking into rail and engineering, which will be needed as the country embarks on its biggest rail investment programme since the Victorian era.”

Chris Young, Chair, CIHT West Midlands Region says: 

“The West Midlands has been significant in leading innovation as the birth place of the industrial revolution in Great Britain. This industrial tradition is alive and well in the professional careers and passion of the colleagues we see featured in this exhibition designed to reach out to the next generations. As Esosa Ikolo says: Role models are the key to influencing young people along with three words we can all follow: Dream, Believe and Achieve.”

“On behalf of the CIHT West Midlands I would like to thank our Corporate Sponsors for supporting this exhibition: Atkins, member of SNC-Lavalin Group; Kier Highways Design Services; Ringway; Tarmac and Turner & Townsend. I would also like to thank our public sector partners Birmingham City Council and Highways England as well as extending a warm thanks to the Thinktank and Rees Jeffreys Road Fund for their support.”

For more information and to view the case studies click here.

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