Teachers have critical role, teaching pack says

Women in engineering

Teachers should choose their words carefully when it comes to convincing girls to consider careers in construction, according to a new teaching pack for secondary schools.

Balfour Beatty, Byrne Bros, Bam Nuttall, and Skanska have funded the production of the new pack by the Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign, which was launched yesterday.

Called People Like Me, the initiative aims to help increase the number of girls opting for careers in the construction industry and cites a number of case studies of women who work in the sector.

The ‘careers in construction’ pack advocates getting girls to reflect on how their own personality and attributes might translate into jobs in construction.

A crucial difference between boys and girls is the way they tend to express themselves, according to the education resource: “Half the population (mainly males) construct and articulate their self-identity using verbs, and the other half (mainly females) use adjectives.”

It adds: “To encourage girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, a sense of ‘fitting-in’ can be reinforced by the careful choice of vocabulary and messages during lessons.”

The pack advocates an approach allowing girls to use their natural tendency to define themselves by adjectives - with descriptions translated into personality types and specific jobs that they may be suited to.

For instance, someone who is “inquisitive and practical, often quite competitive,” could be an ‘explorer’ type. They may enjoy research and analysis to work out new information and processes in environmental services, or civil engineering, and could be suited to job roles such as chief engineer or quantity surveyor.