Encouraging women to become Civil Engineers
Principal Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Dr Maria Diakoumi discusses why she believes an apprenticeship route to a degree is a great option for civil engineers and their employers, and how to encourage more women into the profession.
Maria developed the Civil Engineer Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Brighton which started in September 2019.
“I wanted to develop a degree apprenticeship route for Civil Engineering ever since the apprenticeship standard was created.
We can teach fundamental engineering principles, but the application is really an essential part of the programme. Civil engineers also need professional skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, and good understanding of the regulations and constraints of working on site.
A degree apprenticeship is an ideal way to combine both aspects with the significant advantage that the degree apprenticeship offers a funded pathway to an honours degree, several years of industrial experience and a professional qualification on completion.
I believe that degree apprenticeships will help us to create better links with employers which will enhance the employability of all of our students because employer feedback is so important.
When I came to the UK it was evident that there was a wider gap in the ratio of female to male civil engineers than where I grew up in Greece – the balance is more even there.
I think a key factor is maths – you need good mathematical skills for a career in civil engineering and so we need to enthuse young people at an early stage. I think the actions we are taking to promote STEM subjects, especially the links with schools, are supporting this.”
Women bring different perspectives to workplaces and teams, and as in so many sectors, we need both men and women.”