Welding and training in this profession can open up opportunities to work in a variety of sectors from construction and manufacturing to aerospace and petrochemical industries.
There is a demand for welding skills, but women are still often underrepresented in the profession.
There is currently a shortage of welders in the United Kingdom and the Migratory Advisory Committee states that 13% of welders in the UK come from the European Economic Area.
This may well impact the UK’s ambitions to build more infrastructure such as more roads and railways in the coming years.
This shortage arguably makes attracting more women into the profession even more important because it can help widen the pool of talent to recruit to fill this skills gap.
There have been some significant improvements made to recruiting women to STEM roles in recent years. By 2030 it is expected that 30% of core STEM roles will be filled by women, which is a great step forward.
WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) has also put together a 10 step initiative to help recruit, and retain women in STEM facing roles. One of their key recommendations is to make jobs more attractive by offering flexible working and sponsoring female talent to the same extent as male talent.
Educational outreach programs are also a fantastic way to help attract women to welding. As part of The Welding Institute’s education work, they’ve put together a series of activities and programmes that start at primary school and go all the way to postgraduate level. These include offering work experience placements, science fairs and hands-on workshops.
Efforts are also being made to change stereotypes and society’s preconceived ideas of what job roles are suitable for women. For example, in the US, the hashtag #Ilooklikeanengineer is being used to change this.