The government has announced a £30m fund to encourage more women into the sector

The government has announced a £30m fund to increase the supply of engineers, encourage more women into the sector and address engineering skills shortages in smaller companies.

Skills and minister Matthew Hancock said the fund would support the establishment by engineering companies of training programmes to develop future engineers and boost the number of women in the profession.

Prospective bidders are encouraged to explore how they can support employees, particularly women, looking to return to the sector and how individuals with relevant skills can be helped to progress to become fully qualified engineers.

The £30m will be split equally three ways between developing women engineers, broader efforts to improve engineering careers’ and engineering skills in smaller companies.

The focus on these three areas is a response to recommendations made in last November’s Perkins Review of Engineering.

Professor Perkins’ review of skills within the engineering sector recommended the government invite employers to put forward innovative proposals to develop engineering skills in sectors suffering acute skills shortages.

The announcement forms part of the government’s Employer Ownership Fund that provides employers with 50% match funding to design training projects that will address skills shortages holding back their business,

Hancock said: “As highlighted in the Perkins Review, the engineering sector is currently failing to draw on the whole talent pool.

“By supporting employers to develop the workforce of the future and bring more women into the engineering, we’re empowering the industry to unlock its potential.”

Terry Scuoler chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation welcomed the government’s move to tackle the gender imbalance in engineering.