From education to employment

Calderdale College inspires women in STEM

On International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8th March) Calderdale College welcomed over 50 young women from local schools to its Engineering Centre in Brighouse to inspire them to consider the career opportunities on offer within the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The college held a panel discussion and Q&A session hosted by Claire Williams, Head of Employer Engagement at Calderdale College.

On the panel were Joanne Wheelright and Natalie Van-Eda from manufacturing firm J&C Joel, Sarah Hussain from Colchester Machine Tool Services, Beth Ward from West Yorkshire Manufacturing Services and Jasmine Sutcliffe from Alco-Valves.

As well as hearing from inspirational women in the industry, attendees were also given the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art facilities at The Engineering Centre, take part in a chocolate welding activity, and find out more about the courses and apprenticeships that Calderdale College offers in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

As one of the region’s leading higher education institutions, Calderdale College works collaboratively with local employers to provide them with access to the best talent, including through its apprenticeship programme.

The event, which was held in conjunction with the college’s Collaborative Apprenticeship project, aimed to inspire more young women to consider taking up apprenticeships within the engineering and manufacturing, and to demonstrate to employers that there is a pool of engaged, skilled talent out there ready to join their workforce.

Collaborative Apprenticeships aims to increase the quantity, improve the quality of, and provide better access to apprenticeships in Calderdale and its surrounding areas, by offering employers access to free training courses, services and support.

Claire Williams, Head of Employer Engagement at Calderdale College, said:

“It’s really important to us as a college that we play our part in addressing the gender imbalance within the engineering and manufacturing sectors. We hope that we were able to demonstrate to the young women who attended today that gender should not be a barrier to any career path or industry, and that apprenticeships are a great entry route into the world of work.

“The feedback from the event was fantastic and we’re proud to be doing our part to encourage more women into engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships, creating a strong pipeline of talent for businesses across the region. We’d encourage any employers currently offering apprenticeships, or who are considering introducing them, to get in touch to find out more about the free training and support that we can offer.”

Laiba, a student from Halifax Academy, said:

“What a great event! Before today I hadn’t considered a future in engineering but it’s definitely one of my options now. Being able to hear from the ladies on the panel showed the different sides of engineering and I loved listening to them about what they do.

“It’s been eye opening to discover the different opportunities that await and I also really enjoyed being able to get a tour of the facilities.”

Collaborative Apprenticeships is managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) and funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). Calderdale College is supporting the delivery of the project in partnership with local employers and training providers and businesses can take advantage of the funding until September 2023.

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