With women making up just six per cent of Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering apprenticeships, schoolgirls were invited to give up their half term to get experience of working for the car marque.
The 28 female students, aged 16-18, included three from Arden and Tudor Grange schools. The group toured the Castle Bromwich and Solihull plants; benefiting from work experience and mock interviews and even getting to go off-roading at Gaydon as part of the ‘Young Women in the Know’ course.
Beth Lomas, aged 16, from Dorridge, who has family that work at JLR, was hopeful the course would break some of the stereotypes of female engineers.
“Some girls don’t want to go into that career, and get stuck in that stereotype,” she said.
“People have already told me I can’t have a pink car. They think girls are scared to get our hands dirty.”
The Arden Academy student said one of the biggest benefits had been being able to ‘get a foot in the door.’
Lauren Leigh, aged 17, from Hockley Heath, has already applied to start an engineering apprenticeship next September as a result of the course.
“I have always wanted to work here,” said the Tudor Grange pupil. “It’s just confirmed what I wanted to do. It was everything that I expected and more. this course is a good idea. There should be more female engineers.
Dame Christine Braddock, principal of Birmingham Metropolitan College, which devised the short course, and which also runs in the summer holidays, said: “It is very important to the UK that we harness the whole of our talent base or we risk losing our competitive edge and that includes giving girls the same opportunities as boys to work in the engineering sector.”
Bob Joyce, engineering director, added: “Jaguar Land Rover has ambitious plans for growth and it is engineering talent that will develop the products and technologies that appeal to customers in the future.
“The ‘Young Women in the Know’ course has been developed to encourage female students to consider engineering careers and we hope some of the students on the course today will join Jaguar Land rover as engineers in the future.”