SOE and partners to encourage more women in engineering

The Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) has partnered with the Bus Centre of Excellence (BCoE), and Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) to encourage more women in engineering.

The trio are setting out to address the underrepresentation of women in engineering, starting with their collaboration on the IRTE Bus & Coach Skills Challenge. They are aiming to dismantle barriers and empower more women to embark on fulfilling careers within the transportation sector.

A trend within the engineering landscape, particularly within the bus and coach industry, it is still a largely male-dominated field. This collaboration recognises the crucial need for a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the communities it serves. The three organisations will:

  • SOE: extend their mentorship and career development programmes for aspiring female engineers.
  • BCoE: offer a hub for knowledge and best practices in bus operations, provides valuable insights into specific engineering roles and challenges within the sector.
  • CPT: represent the interests of bus and coach operators, ensures the initiative aligns with industry needs and fosters real-world impact.

  • By elevating visibility of the competition through their networks, the trio are aiming to attract more female public service vehicle apprentices, technicians and engineers to participate in this national competition, which is now entering its 12th year.

    Previous winner and fourth-year Arriva mechelec apprentice Hollie Smith shared some advice for her female peers from the industry on why they should have a go at this year’s Skills Challenge:

    “Just do it. I know it’s scary. This is still quite a male-dominated industry, but when I first started my apprenticeship three years ago, I didn’t see women anywhere.

    Over my course, I have seen more women coming into this industry and the company, and I think, all right, we are branching out, this is good. I want more girls to compete, because [female winners] are inspiring not just to women, but to everyone.”

    IRTE Skills Challenge 2024 aims to showcase the breadth of engineering roles and inspire more female engineers with a long-term goal of promoting diverse opportunities in bus and coach.

    "We are delighted to join forces with the BCoE and CPT in this transformative initiative. By working together, we can break down barriers and open doors for talented women who are eager to contribute their skills and ideas to the future of engineering." Emma Thompson, head of business operations of the Society of Operations Engineers.

    BCoE acting head Sharon Kindleysides said: "A diverse workforce is essential for innovation and progress. By supporting women in engineering, we can ensure the bus industry continues to thrive and meet the evolving needs of our communities."

    CPT’s CEO Graham Vidler emphasised their commitment: "We are proud to participate in this collaborative effort to champion women in engineering. This initiative aligns perfectly with our vision of building a more diverse and inclusive industry that reflects the people we serve."

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