The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced that more places will be available on its award-winning Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP), which supports engineering students and graduates from diverse backgrounds to increase the number who move into engineering employment. The programme has also been enhanced to include more activities and opportunities for participants, and will be delivered with a new partner, The Windsor Fellowship.
GEEP focuses on supporting engineering undergraduates from groups that are underrepresented in the engineering profession, including women and those from socially disadvantaged or minority ethnic backgrounds who are studying in universities outside the Russell Group. While students from minority ethnic backgrounds made up 30% of engineering and technology entrants at undergraduate level in 2019/20, only 10% of those in engineering employment are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Women made up 21% of engineering and technology entrants at undergraduate level in 2018-19 but represent only 14.5% of those in engineering occupations.
The Windsor Fellowship has been appointed for the next three years to help deliver an enhanced year-long programme that enables students to engage with employers through a series of events and networking opportunities with a view to encouraging them to apply for engineering employment opportunities. In addition to workshops, students will be able to access insight sessions on particular areas of the industry and hear from inspiring individuals already working in the engineering profession. They will also have enhanced access to mentoring, mock assessment centres and exclusive work placements.
Since its launch in 2015 GEEP has engaged with 1020 students from 66 universities and resulted in at least 250 engineering employment opportunities including internships, graduate placements and jobs. Of the students involved in GEEP, 30% are women and more than 90% are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
This year, the number of students supported each year will increase from 200 to 225 and the programme has set ambitious goals for recruitment:
- 90% from a minority ethnic background
- 80% from non-Russell Group universities
- 45% women
- 20% in receipt of a grant or bursary to support their education
- 10% young carers
- 10% with a disability
Industry engagement is critical to the success of GEEP and a significant number of new corporate partners are joining the programme this year, including: AECOM Limited, AMEY, BBC, bp, chapmanbdsp, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Rolls-Royce, TWI Limited, Two Sigma International Limited, and WSP. These companies will not only play an important funding role but will also support an enhanced programme of events, online learning, internships and individual mentoring. The Academy welcomes approaches from additional companies who might be interested in the mutual value of participation.
The Academy will also continue to work with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) and the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), who provide insightful speakers, mentors and other support.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Academy CEO and co-chair of The Hamilton Commission to improve the representation of Black people within UK motorsport, said: “The research that the Academy carried out for The Hamilton Commission highlighted how much still needs to be done to increase the diversity of young people entering engineering as a profession. Engineering needs their talents now and will need them even more in the future. It’s that simple.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help attract and nurture greater numbers of young people from those groups currently underrepresented in the profession. One outcome of the Commission was increased interest in our Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme. Expanding and enhancing the programme is one of a suite of actions we’re taking that we hope will contribute to accelerating progress towards a more diverse and inclusive engineering workforce.”
Notes for Editors
- The Windsor Fellowship (WF) is a unique charitable organisation. We design and deliver innovative personal development and leadership programmes, which enables talent from diverse communities to be realised. We achieve this by partnering with leading organisations from the private and public sectors as well as developing relationships with schools, universities and community groups throughout the UK. To date we have trained and supported over 19,000 young people to successfully navigate key milestones along their educational journey.
Our work helps young people navigate pathways to educational and career success and become confident, active role model citizens. At the same time it helps employers’ access talent from within Britain’s diverse communities.
The objectives underpinning our work are to: (1) improve educational attainment levels (2) strengthen community cohesion, and (3) achieve a greater equality of employment outcomes.
As well as directly enriching the lives of the individuals who participate in our programmes, the WF seeks to inspire and challenge our Fellows to make a positive contribution to Britain's economic and civic life.
- The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
- In July 2019, the Academy won the Race Equality Award for GEEP at Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards.