UTC Norfolk, which opened in September 2014, has seen the number of girls attending the school double from 24 (8pc) in 2015/16 to 47 (16pc) for the current academic year.
Principal Alex Hayes said he was “absolutely delighted” with the figures, the second consecutive year of growth in girls at UTC Norfolk, and believes that the increase can be attributed to positive efforts to encourage more girls to consider careers in science and engineering.
He says that this is aided by changing understandings of the opportunities that are available in the sector, which is helping to challenge outdated stereotypes:
More and more girls are realising not only that there are many fantastic opportunities in the fields of engineering, technology, computing and science, but that these are fully open and accessible to them.
This is bound up with improved understandings of what it means to go into a career in engineering in 2017. It’s not about hulking massive pieces of oily machinery around in heavy industrial settings. So many of the engineering opportunities that exist today involve using advanced technology, such as computer-aided design, remote control systems, robotics, precision engineering, nanotechnology.
As part of its commitment to equality across all strands of diversity, UTC Norfolk has organised events designed to raise awareness of the opportunities available to its female students and to provide role models of women in engineering.
Mr Hayes says that attracting more young women to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects is good for the science and engineering sector as a whole:
There is a skills shortage with employers crying out for school-leavers, apprentices and graduates with STEM qualifications and engineering skills, not just locally but nationally and internationally. We can go a long way to plugging that gap if we succeed in persuading more girls to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow. There is also a persuasive argument that a more diverse workforce brings in new skills and talent, new approaches to problem solving, which is crucial in engineering.
For more information about UTC Norfolk and its open events, please visit: www.utcn.org.uk