The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced its support for the government's Your Life campaign, launched today to encourage greater participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Your Life aims to boost female participation in science and engineering by encouraging organisations to work together in a national partnership-led campaign. A number of organisations have signed up to support Your Life including industry, educators, campaigning groups, small businesses, local authorities and bodies representing higher and further education.

In supporting the campaign, the Academy has committed to delivering on a number of pledges over the next 12 months. The Academy will use its Engineering Diversity Concordat Group, which brings together the professional engineering bodies, and the employer-led Diversity Leadership Group as vehicles to take forward the campaign's aims. The Academy will also support University Technical Colleges in increasing the participation of girls in STEM and will develop 10 actions for employers to improve the retention and progression of women in the workplace.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is also lending its support to the campaign, through a number of pledges. Commitments include running a UK schools event with industry and academics to engage young women in engineering; developing the global QEPrize Ambassadors network of young engineers to include at least 20% female representation; and ensuring that at least half of the engineers featured on the Create the Future website are women.

In the UK, 8% of the professional engineering workforce is female - the lowest representation in Europe. Your Life aims to address this issue by doubling the number of women studying engineering and technology degrees at undergraduate level by 2030; boosting the number of women pursuing careers in engineering and technology; and increasing the number of young people studying maths and physics at 18. The campaign also feeds into the wider skills shortage in engineering, of which 1.28 million new science and engineering professionals and technicians are required by 2020.

Philip Greenish, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: "The Royal Academy of Engineering wholeheartedly supports the aims and objectives of Your Life, which represents just one element of a wider STEM Diversity Programme that we lead in conjunction with the Royal Society. Engineering is a highly rewarding career for women and men alike, and the Academy is committed to encouraging women and those from other underrepresented groups to consider it as such.

By providing a platform for stakeholders to meet and drive change, the Academy is able to make a number of concrete commitments to increasing the participation of girls and women at different stages in the engineering skills pipeline, and also address the skills shortage in the sector."

Caroline Evans, Director of the Queen Elizabeth Prize of Engineering said: "The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering aims to raise the public profile of engineering and to inspire a generation of young people to become engineers. We are delighted to be able to support the government's Your Life campaign and we have also made specific pledges to support the call to action to encourage more young women to become engineers."

The Academy's pledges are summarised below - the detailed list of actions for the Academy and the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering can be found on the following pages:

Diversity in the Academy

Create the Future (QE Prize)

1. Supporting the aims of the campaign through our Diversity programme and wider activities
The Academy will use its Engineering Diversity Concordat Group, which brings together the 36 professional engineering institutions (PEIs) with the Academy and the Engineering Council, and Diversity Leadership Group, consisting of 40 engineering employers and employer-led organisations, as vehicles to promote, publicise and support the overall aims of the campaign. It will also use these networks as routes to engage others in meeting the Academy's pledges.

The Academy commits to ensuring that every shortlist or nomination pool for its grants and fellowships contains female representation.

2. Supporting University Technical Colleges (UTCs) to inspire girls to pursue STEM Workshops to disseminate good practice detailed in the booklet titled UTC - Opening up new opportunities for girls.
The Academy will work with WISE to disseminate good practice to support UTCs in increasing the participation of girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
University Technical Colleges: Opening up new opportunities for girls

3. Improving progression and retention of women in STEM
The Academy will develop 10 actions employers can sign up to and leverage to improve the retention and progression of women in predominantly male work environments.

4. Networking and leadership development for female engineers
In partnership with the Everywoman, female engineers will be invited to participate in developing their networks and leadership potential.

5. Inspiring young women to consider careers in engineering
The Academy is a partner of Tomorrow's Engineers (TE), which is the umbrella brand and coordination tool for business and professional body activities for those aged under-16. We will work with Tomorrow's Engineers in conjunction with the Diversity Leadership Group to strengthen business engagement in inspiring young people into engineering

Notes for editors

  1. More information on the Your Life campaign and pledges from participating organisations can be found at the Your Life website:
  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
  3. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a £1 million global award which celebrates the engineers responsible for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity. The judging panel comprises some of the biggest names in engineering and science from around the world, including Professor Brian Cox in the UK, Professor Calestous Juma in the USA and Narayana Murthy in India. The QEPrize was launched in 2011 and is awarded biennially. The five inaugural winners were Robert Kahn, Vint Cerf and Louis Pouzin, who were recognised for their contributions to the protocols that make up the fundamental architecture of the Internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for inventing the World Wide Web, and Marc Andreessen who, with colleagues, wrote the Mosaic browser. The QEPrize is run on behalf of the QEPrize Foundation, by a team based Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK.

For more information please contact:

Manisha Lalloo at the Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel: 020 7766 0683
Email: Manisha Lalloo

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