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Online event calls for greater diversity in UK engineering roles

28 July 2020

RS Components (RS) has partnered with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to host its second annual REflect event and National Day.

The event, which will be hosted online this year, calls on engineering and technology companies and professional engineering institutions to take action to engage with under-represented groups of young people across the UK.

With a particular emphasis on highlighting the innate technology skills of 18-25-year olds in BAME communities, this initiative has been created to stimulate industry peers into doing more to address the ethnicity imbalance in UK engineering positions, where statistics from the Royal Academy of Engineering show that employees are currently 94% white. According to an IET survey carried out last year, just over 12% of engineering organisations in the UK have committed to actively recruiting from minority groups. This reflects a 33% increase in engagement over the previous two years, which is a step forward, but reveals that many companies are slow in their efforts to embrace diversity and are missing opportunities to attract talented young people into their workforce.

The Grass Roots Engineering and Technology Youth Empowerment team at RS has worked in collaboration with the IET to devise a thought-provoking programme of discussion sessions for REflect 2020, which will be hosted online on Friday 31 July 2020. The business-focused morning session will be opened by Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President of techUK, and will feature talks by representatives from RS, the IET, AFBE-UK, INvolve-The Inclusion People, GSK and the EY Foundation. The speakers will draw attention to the shortfall of engineering skills from under-represented groups, suggesting positive steps that can be taken to mitigate this and effect change.

In the afternoon, the platform will be handed over to a series of talented young professional engineers and entrepreneurs representing and actively working with these groups. Each will give an account of their first-hand experiences and air views on how the industry can act differently to make engineering more appealing to minority groups.

The full agenda, along with speaker details for both sessions, is available here.

Isabella Mascarenhas, VP Grass Roots at RS, said: “The ability to be skilled in STEM subjects has no boundaries, and we have the collective capability within our industry to inspire and embrace young people from any background into a rewarding career in engineering and technology. REflect 2020 will provide an insightful window into how and why companies should take action to help young people realise their potential, and ultimately play their part in addressing the UK’s engineering skills shortage.”

For more information about REflect 2020, and to register for the event, which will be hosted on the Zoom conferencing platform, please visit http://reflectchanges.co.uk/.


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