View Full Version : Hmmm, Ed, maybe girlies just don't want to be "engineers"

G&T ice n slice
24th Nov 2014, 16:59
Maybe they just aren't good enough?

After all the poor dears seem to have major problems trying to decide which frocks to wear, heaven help them if they had to take REAL decisions!

Never mind the business of numbers and mathematics, when most of them don't realise that 50% off a price is the same as a BOGOF

So if idiot boy gets in on the next vote will we see Chardonnay and Chantelle, "like, doing engineering at uni, ennaye"

ED Miliband promises to train up thousands of female engineers | Daily Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2847497/Miliband-promises-train-thousands-female-engineers-national-mission-Britain-building.html)

Just 1 in 25 engineers are women: Miliband condemns 'national embarrassment' and promises a 'mission' to train thousands
Labour leader said number of women engineers a 'national embarrassment'
Mr Miliband said just one in 25 engineers in the UK were women
He promised to train up an extra 400,000 engineers over the next five years

Gertrude the Wombat
24th Nov 2014, 17:01
most of them don't realise that 50% off a price is the same as a BOGOF
Er ... no ... it's not ...

24th Nov 2014, 17:11
Women in the UK are not dumb enough to be engineers...
Given the sexist crap and poor pay, they either do something else or go do engineering abroad.

It's not just women engineers. The UK does not have anywhere like enough engineers, period.

If you want more, treat them with respect and pay them.

Oh, and it might be an idea to have maths and physics teachers who know something about engineering. Or Maths. Or Physics.

Like me. Only I've emigrated. Ask me why, Ed!

But you won't. Because you won't like the answer. You :mad::mad::mad:

24th Nov 2014, 17:45
All the female engineers I know apart from 1 are all top of the game. So its far from being not good enough.

Its starts in the schools at primary level.

The teachers there start brain washing the kids into perceived roles.

They use to and still do to my knowledge do summer 2-3 day courses for females at some university's to give them an insight into engineering.

There are schools which are very pro and always there are 5-10 kids turn up. And there are also single kids by themselves and when you chat to them, the school gave zero support them coming and sometimes they were the objects of derision by teachers for coming.

As for the issue with supply its mainly because certain individuals decided to gold plate the MEng. And basically barred anyone who didn't perform well at school being able to become a pro engineer.

Many top quality engineers were shall we say little bastards at school. And then left when 16 and went into the HNC/HND route into Uni. These guys were top notch, practical real life experience and theoretical knowledge, many in my year obtained 1st's.

As for the job yes there are some good interesting ones out there but hammering design codes is a brute of a job.

A large percentage of engineering graduates go into finance and usually have a better track record at passing the chartered accountancy exams than the business school graduates.

24th Nov 2014, 17:45
Maybe they just aren't good enough?

After all the poor dears seem to have major problems trying to decide which frocks to wear, heaven help them if they had to take REAL decisions!

Never mind the business of numbers and mathematics, when most of them don't realise that 50% off a price is the same as a BOGOF

So if idiot boy gets in on the next vote will we see Chardonnay and Chantelle, "like, doing engineering at uni, ennaye"

Despite just that sort of misogynistic claptrap from some males, in a professional engineering career of over 40 years I have encountered a significant number of female engineers well able to cope with the demanding working conditions of their chosen profession. Male prejudice of that stone-age mentality just bounces off them, I assure you!

When I started out in the late 1950s at university there were 90 male engineering undergrads, and just one solitary woman, who had a grand time! And she got a First in her finals! Nowadays there are between 10% and 15% women on engineering courses, depending on the speciality, and numbers are slowly growing as the bright lasses realise what a super, satisfying job engineering provides. There certainly is a need for many more youngsters to come in, of both sexes, so I do support the spirit of what Milliband is on about here. But I do hope that his rather clumsy way of encouraging it doesn't result in a "more means worse" culture involving dumbing down.

24th Nov 2014, 18:00
Well I agree in principle, but:

so I do support the spirit of what Milliband is on about here

Do you think Ed or his advisors actually know what an Engineer is or does for a living?

24th Nov 2014, 18:07
Like Germany and quite a few other country's they need to get the salary's of engineers on a par or above accountants and lawyers etc.

Germany Engineers are paid vastly more than hospital consultants.

Until you make it a high value profession your only going to get those of us that have a passion for the subject.

But even once qualified there are many many professions currently that are more than happy with an engineers training to function in them. And they pay more.

Effluent Man
24th Nov 2014, 18:09
Whereas Dave and George do.Those dreadful little men who mend things.

24th Nov 2014, 18:11
:ok: Mad Jock
Engineering is fine in the UK for those with a passion for it, and I said that to my students. But if you want a good career, salary,etc; maybe do an engineering degree, but don't go into engineering as a career.

Everything the Labour Government did when last in power reduced the number of girls doing A level physics and maths, and the proportion of girls going into engineering. Everything.

24th Nov 2014, 18:12
Everything the Labour Government did when last in power reduced the number of girls doing A level physics and maths, and the proportion of girls going into engineering. Everything.

Would you expand on that a bit?


24th Nov 2014, 18:28

Popularity of A-level and GCSE physics keeps on rising (http://www.iop.org/news/13/sep/page_61021.html)
Home - CEM (http://www.cem.org/)
Gatsby - Reports (http://www.gatsby.org.uk/en/Education/Reports.aspx?Theme=%7B3A61EC74-8511-4895-8D42-A4CD5E59AE1F%7D&Type%20of%20Publication=%7B0E3F0CDD-96FD-4220-A023-5A76C57C67F0%7D)

The major issues were:
A level physics became relatively too hard, especially at A level. A level standards dropped in other subjects but not so much in STEM subjects, because the Universities still needed high standards (it's no good having a nuclear reactor that just looks like it'll keep the radiation in). Girls in particular want high grades, so tended to choose subjects other than physics.

The dropping in classroom behaviour standards had a bigger effect on STEM teachers. Basically, many of the older teachers gave up on the struggle and left; going back to industry or retiring early.

The Government insisted on Physics teachers teaching all the sciences in state schools. This both diluted the number of qualified physicists teaching physics, and forced physics teachers to teach what they didn't want to. Most would have been quite happy teaching maths, but the Government both refused to do this (and kept allowing geographers to fill the maths shortage) and until 5 years ago refused to have teacher training course where a physics and maths specialism was possible.

The Government said is was perfectly OK to have biology teachers teaching physics. It isn't, either for biology teachers or physics students.

When producing policy, they completely ignored the professionals. For example, when revising practical policy, they ignored ASE. Then when ASE politely inquired whether they could be of use, the DfE told them to F-off. Practical assessment became an abysmal,inefficient box-ticking exercise.

Lastly, when they did finally drop standards in GCSE physics to match the other subjects; they dropped all the interesting (to potential engineers/physicists) stuff, and started asking questions that were not even physics.

Girls in particular are sensitive to teachers who are highly knowledgeable and encouraging. Teachers who don't know their subject thoroughly, especially physics and maths, tend to discourage questioning. Generalising of course, but girls tend to drop the subjects, whereas boys will simply ignore the teacher and study on their own.

Actually, I could go on, but I'll probably discover there's a post size limit.

24th Nov 2014, 18:29
they basically put more emphasis on the humanity type subjects.

If you look at the subjects required for university entrance engineering hasn't really changed for a 100 years.

Its far far easier to get a Uni entrance level if you take the humanity line of subjects in school. And school advisers have been pushing the kids in that direction because it gets the schools grading's higher with better grades.

The fact that on the street and C or B in a pure science is worth more than an A in GENERAL STUDIES doesn't matter.

A-Levels - JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications (http://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results/a-levels)

G&T ice n slice
24th Nov 2014, 19:14
Quote: most of them don't realise that 50% off a price is the same as a BOGOF

Er ... no ... it's not ...

Sorry I was trying to shortcut the very long explanation, which is that supermarkets found out that people believe that "Buy one get one free" is a better deal than "half price" and that "50% off" is more expensive than "half price".

It's all out there somewhere in the bowels of t'interweb thinggy (although possibly I've got the details wrong, because I couldn't be harrissed to actually look it all up)

24th Nov 2014, 19:21

Whereas Dave and George do.Those dreadful little men who mend things.

You're right of course....the party doesn't matter, none of them have a clue.

Living the other side of the Channel these days I'm glad to say it's not seen as unusual here that "girls" like my daughter are studying in the Grande Ecoles and elsewhere to be "ingenieurs" (slightly more broad brush than the UK Engineer). Doesn't stop the economy here being a mess but they are still very much in demand...

(Fortunately whilst daughter inherited her Dad's interests she also inherited her mother's Brains....)

24th Nov 2014, 19:24
I have no idea how it works, or fails to work, in the UK, but here in Germany we seem to have a few female engineering students who do just fine, thanks.

My daughter recently graduated from dental school, and the majority of her fellow grads were females. They were all, male and female, a very impressive group of highly capable young people.

In Algeria I had a couple of young First Officers who were university trained female engineers, and I found them to be sharp and capable. I never saw them wearing frocks, but they were able to make good decisions about how to operate an airplane, all that mattered to me.

Get with the program, man! Sexism, like homophobia, is just so yesterday, only good for a wind-up if you can avoid hitting the flat notes.

24th Nov 2014, 19:41
Don't know how it is in the old world, but here in the antipodes, my daughter received all the encouragement, in a rural state high school, to do all the subjects she needed to, to go into any profession she was capable of, including engineering, which she did. At one stage, she led an all-female team of engineers.
She was one of those children who build things, including model aircraft (balsa & tissue paper) and electrical gadgets, and dismantled things to see how they worked.
At university, although outnumbered by men, she was far from the only engineering student, but in her first job, she was significantly underpaid compared to men with similar responsibilities until she presented her case.
I also know a young female bridge design engineer, recently arrived from the UK. It's a difficult field to get into, so I presume she has a good track record.

Don't tell me that women don't have the aptitude to be engineers.

24th Nov 2014, 19:43
When girls choose to work amongst people with autism or Aspergers*, most do so by becoming a doctor or special needs teacher, rather than entering engineering.

If this country wants to make up its shortfall of engineers of either sex, it needs to adjust its teaching and examination process to emphasise the skills which are really needed to do the job, rather than the ones which boost the egos of the heads of universities and chartered institutions. If you can't memorize umpteen types of calculus and matrices, you can't pass the maths exams, yet if you need to use them at work, you would most probably look them up anyway.

Money is the other issue, as has been pointed out. In the Civil Service, back in the 1980s (it may still be the same), for any particular grade, the clerical grades were the highest paid, then the engineers, then lowest of all, the scientists. What's more, the clerical grades were paid a bonus if they used a computer at work, as that was considered an additional skill, whereas the engineers and scientists were expected to know how to use them and didn't get a bonus.

*A reflection on what its like working with some engineers, not poking fun at those with autism/Aspergers

24th Nov 2014, 20:32
G&T, I assume that was a wind-up?
I certainly hope so.
You might like to share the same sentiments with one of the Directors on our Board.
Chemical Engineer, 30 year career with BP, Refinery Manager, holds another Director position on the Board of a major Australian Defence manufacturer, former Major in the Australian Army.
Oh, and just happens to be a woman.

24th Nov 2014, 20:58
One of the best car mechanics (I know that's not the same as an engineer but the analogy is valid) I've ever met was a 19 year old Polish girl who was a VW/Audi mechanic. Totally irrelevant to her skills was the sight of her bending over under the bonnet ......... Mj Boże ........ but that, as I say, is quite irrelevant, not to say irreverent.

24th Nov 2014, 20:59
Actually, I could go on, but I'll probably discover there's a post size limit.

No, no, do carry on. I'm sure it will help you justify to yourself your decision to move from GB. Anything that makes you feel better about yourself, oh, or is it just another one of your rants about how bad everything is in GB and how good everything is in Canada? Never been to Canada myself, always fancied it and will go soon, but please let me know where you are so I can avoid the place.


24th Nov 2014, 21:04
I thin Fox3 has a lot of the right answers.

Mrs radeng (MIET, C. Eng) developed an interest in amateur radio - in fact, we met at the radio club when she was 16 and I was 29. She went on to get an Honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering: she now travels the world (will be for 22 weeks in 2014) teaching people how to use software to design digital integrated circuits. In fact, she will be away in Beijing over Christmas........Her pay rises for the last 5 years have been 3% p.a. so I guess she is appreciated by her employer...

At one time, she did IEE talks for WISE - Women in Science and Engineering. One mother came to her and asked 'Why do you want to encourage girls into science and engineering? They will only take jobs away from my sons'

When asked 'What is your son good at?', the response was 'He's a really good footballer'. Then told 'That means that he is probably too dim to be an engineer', the mother was well pi**ed off and went away....

OK, so mrs. radeng gets about 3 times the average UK family wage - and earns it by the time away in hotels and the amount of flying and as a result (which happens to everyone I know who has that lifestyle) is on medication for hypertension. One guy who had a similar work lifestyle was on hypertension medication when he was 31: he died in his sleep last year at the age of 49.....

I asked why she would be so keen to get other women into what is generally a poorly paid occupation of low esteem. Her response was 'It's better paid than many occupations for women'. Her school (single sex grammar school)were very dubious about her choice of profession, but she has done better than many of her peers....

In Germany 'Herr Engineer' is a title in much the same ways 'Herr Doktor': Italy is similar. In the UK, an 'engineer' fixes washing machines and photo copiers...I upset a secretary at work who told me the photocopier had broken and 'there was an engineer coming to fix it'.

'No', I said, 'He's a technician. These guys sitting around the office working on computers, all of them with engineering degrees - they are engineers, not the technicians who fix photocopiers'.

She was most unhappy - admittedly, Pat was by no means the brightest spark in the firmament. You didn't quite have to switch another light on when she walked in because of her dimness, but pretty nearly...

'Engineer' should be as much of a title here as 'Captain' or 'Doctor' or 'Reverend'....and the pay accordingly - except for Reverends, who get paid less than engineers!

Gertrude the Wombat
24th Nov 2014, 21:06
supermarkets found out that people believe that "Buy one get one free" is a better deal than "half price"
Which is bizarre, because (for stuff that goes off, anyway) it should surely be obvious that BOGOF is a worse deal than "half price", once you've factored in what you throw away, because you can't eat it in time, because you only needed one of them in the first place.

I've had till operators say "but that's on BOGOF and you've only got one of them, do you want to go and get your other one?" and I've refused on the grounds that it would only go off and get thrown away, and the supermarket shouldn't be promoting waste like this.

But then that's my engineering viewpoint for you, always looking for potential failure modes ...

24th Nov 2014, 21:20
depends if it is something that will go off...if not, that's another story.

back when I was in school 'Bogoff' was a 'sanitised version' of " Bu**er off!" usable in public........

24th Nov 2014, 21:26
Anyone remember Hedy Lamarr?

After an excellent landing etc...

24th Nov 2014, 21:35
There is a school of thought that your can't actually create an Engineer. You can only develop what the person has been given in life on birth.

That's not to say you can't educate someone with the toolbox of an engineer. But to actually get them to instinctively think like one the jury is out on that one.

Most I don't think realise what an Engineer actually does. Yes you have your "subject niche" but most of the training is problem solving in a logical manner.

When moved to outside your degree subject matter it doesn't take you long to apply basic principles and think to be able to solve the problem.

Mostly its problem definition, then a logical process to solve the problem. What the guys that are trained engineers don't have is the innate ability to even see the problem never mind the solution. Never mind the cross discipline flashes of ideas then going to speak to someone that does have a clue to work out what's going on.

24th Nov 2014, 22:05
The point previous posters have made about the status of engineers in Germany is a good one.
The country has a network of superb technical universities and engineering schools.
End result?
Think of just about any field of mechanical engineering, most types of electrical engineering and there will be a host of German brand names or manufacturers who have led, or currently lead the field in terms of innovation, or are bywords for quality precision engineering.
Think of BMW, Audi, Siemens, MBB, Blapunkt, Fraunhoffer...
I am currently devouring Boris Chetok's `Rockets and People.' At the end of WW2 the Russians were in awe of Nazi Germany's progress in precision mechanical and electrical engineering necessary to sustain long range guided rocket flight.
It wasn't just due to the Nazi regime whipping scientists to come up with those innovations - it was because they already had a culture that fundamentally valued engineering.
You could argue for instance that the Horton brothers taught Northrop a lot about Blended Wing Bodies.
There's a strong case to argue that without German engineering mastery, the Americans wouldn't have made it to the moon.
And what was the professional training of the first man to step foot there?
He was also an engineer.
In my view we undervalue, outsource and offshore mechanical engineering at our peril.
The ability to make and use ever more advanced tools is what sets us apart from other species.
Jeez - that's a bit deep for JB...

24th Nov 2014, 22:24
supermarkets found out that people believe that "Buy one get one free" is a better deal than "half price"Precisely, and often the Super, Double Size is more expensive than 2 regular priced items. I carry a mini-circular slide rule glued inside my wallet for the times - and there are many - when Unit Pricing isn't apparent. ( the mental arithmetic App. in my brain is getting a bit worn out, and lbs, kgs,grams, oz's, pints, quarts and mls. etc. get a bit mixed up )

back to thread ........... our airport is being "expanded" and there is the largest earth moving machine I have ever seen in use, a sort of giant bulldozer, dumptruck and roller all built into one, the only person I've seen driving it is a young girl, who has to climb up to the control cabin about 12ft. off the ground. I'm impressed, doesn't make her an Engineer I guess, but I'm still impressed that anyone can control such a behemoth of a thing, never mind a young girl. She gives me a cheery wave as I pull my car off the path out of her way, too.

24th Nov 2014, 22:36
There is a school of thought that your can't actually create an Engineerg8vHhgh6oM0

24th Nov 2014, 22:39
Dunno about now but 20 or 30 years ago, if you burrowed down to the centre of a large/huge engineering projects, you'd probably find a Scot.

After an excellent landing etc...

24th Nov 2014, 23:04
George Stephenson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Stephenson)

Robert Stephenson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Stephenson)

William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Armstrong,_1st_Baron_Armstrong)

Joseph Swan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Swan)

Charles Algernon Parsons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Algernon_Parsons)

Windy Militant
24th Nov 2014, 23:10
One of the most famous alumni from my old school is this chap E J Desin williams (http://www.myglyw.org.uk/index.php?id=4368) According to my Mum they put a bronze bust of him in the main school corridors just before she left.
I didn't find out about him until after I left school. I'd seen the bronze bust hidden behind a book rack in the school library.
When I was at the school in the mid to late 1970s Science and Engineering were not considered to be proper subjects, that sort of stuff was for the secondary mod.
Myself and a bunch of mates made ourselves somewhat unpopular by insisting on being allowed to take engineering drawing to O level. Despite it being on the syllabus they did their damnedest to get us to take Spanish instead but the rebellion held and we got to do the rude mechanical subject. ;)

Tartare how far have you got with Rockets and People? It's a fascinating collection.

cockney steve
24th Nov 2014, 23:19
My 35 year old daughter did a Masters in Astrophysics (the fact that I pointed out Patrick Moore had the only high-profile job and wasn't for retiring, didn't deter her.)Space fascinated her.....She then went on to do a Doctorate in Particle Physics, designing some of the Integrated Circuits in the CERN Large Hadron Collider Atlas Experiment.
She went straight into a well-paid business-consultancy and now lives in the Hague, working for NATO.
She has changed a clutch, ground-in valves, mended appliances....doesn't bother a lot,simply because it's not worth her while, but when stranded with a broken clutch-cable, she was able to fit a replacement and get mobile again.
Yes, I'm proud of her. the girl done good.

24th Nov 2014, 23:22
Virginia Marie "Ginni" Rometty, current CEO of IBM, has an engineering degree from Northwestern.

I attended a discussion with her at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA last week. She said she thinks an engineering degree is one of the best to get due to the problem solving skills it teaches. Useful in almost any career.

24th Nov 2014, 23:24
Wodrick, re Dilbert, I thought that when engineers lost "The Knack" they became managers.:E

25th Nov 2014, 00:44
Windy - about halfway through volume 2.
I agree - what an amazing story - not just for the hardcore explanations of progress in Soviet aerodynamics and rocketry, but the wonderful pen-portraits of life in post-war Germany and the Soviet Union.
The explanations of how they built a rocket industry are also intriguing - makes you realise that behind the Iron Curtain during the space race, there was an industry every bit as innovative and organised on a massive scale as the Americans.
It's really well written, and it's great to learn more about the hitherto mysterious Sergei Pavlovich Korolev - Chief Designer.
I would highly recommend this quartet of books to other forum members.

25th Nov 2014, 01:56
I was fortunate to work in the Independent sector. In most of my schools, myself and my physics colleague had degrees in both physics and engineering, had worked in industry/military first, and were given pretty free rein to do whatever curriculum we liked, and often had other staff, like the Head of Maths, who had similar practical engineering experience. We usually had 20% of the girls doing A level physics, (up to 25%). Ultimately, we would typically have about 10% of the girls in the school go on to engineering, physics or geophysics degrees. There were others who did Chemistry, Maths, Medicine, Vet., etc with physics A level

The ability to teach practicals and illustrate lessons with real engineering examples over several years made a huge difference. They entered both Uni and the work place with what many have mentioned - the ability to reason intelligently about situations they had not seen before; and the judgement to decide whether a complex recalculation might be required, or simply the deft application of a slightly larger hammer.

I would not say that we were stellar teachers in the pure sense, but there is no substitute for having practical experience in preparing future engineers. One teaching colleague had helped to design the brakes on Concorde, and another had run the turbine hall of a CEGB power station for 8 years.

The DfE has to find more ways to get people with practical experience into teaching, and keep them. The points I mentioned earlier need to be addressed. Frankly, if they simply switched off the DfE completely, it would help a lot. Throughout the 00's, I read the DfE / OfSted material, did the exact opposite, and that seemed to work pretty well.

On the nationality point, I did teach girls from all over the World. It was quite eye-opening to the British girls to find Italian, Lebanese, Chinese, American girls, etc, joining the sixth form wanting to be engineers, and being backed by their parents. Those nationalities thought it perfectly normal for a girl, like a boy, to want to be a professional, and they classed engineers with doctors and lawyers. It was ironic that they came to the UK for the best schooling in engineering, but then went home to be treated decently as an engineer.

25th Nov 2014, 02:30
I have never taken much stock in degrees and qualifications. My attitude is "Show me what you've done and I'll decide whether or not you are an engineer." I note with interest that in South America engineers command a great deal of respect. Keep it up!

After an excellent landing etc...

25th Nov 2014, 03:38
My OH is a mechanical engineer, and a bloody good one. She has to fight against the sexist BS everyday and it's fun to watch the reaction of the worst offenders when she spits out a solution off the top of her head after a quick glance at a plan when the bloke has struggled with it for a while... It's also fun to see the reaction of some blokes when it finally clicks the "cute young secretary" they are talking to is the engineer running the show!

The number of females in engineering degrees still isn't huge but it's growing all the time, more power to em!

Ancient Mariner
25th Nov 2014, 05:57
Thirty percent of the applicants for the Master study at NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology were, in 2013, females.
I work in the offshore oil and gas industry and there are plenty of highly qualified, and competent female engineers working for Norwegian, French, and Italian companies to name a few countries. Many of them in very senior positions. Not so much with UK and US companies, go figure.
What I do know is that our government has made an effort to recruit students to Sci-Tech studies. Well done them.

25th Nov 2014, 06:39
Interesting title.
Pity the OP followed up with way out of date sexist crap. Maybe he was just trolling?

Some women want to be engineers and some don't, just like guys.
Some women are good engineers and some ain't, just like guys.
Same goes for any job.

Seems engineering doesn't appeal to most women.
Does it matter?

Why the obsession with gender - and race - targets?

25th Nov 2014, 08:03
Cockney Steve:
Patrick Moore had the only high-profile job

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who replaced Patrick, has a doctorate in mechanical engineering. I worked with Maggie for a couple of years when she was brought in to manage one of the projects in the programme I was running at the time. Very bright and bubbly person.

G&T ice n slice
25th Nov 2014, 08:52
maybe girlies just don't want to be "engineers"

Interesting title.
Pity the OP followed up with way out of date sexist crap. Maybe he was just trolling?

well, yep, it was indeed something of a deliberate wind-up... gets people talking ...

Frankly I am a bloke who has exactly the opposite of Dilbert's "engineers' knack" give me a something in which there is a screw that needs to be unscrewed and before you know it -hey presto- one stripped screwhead, usually blood oozing from wierd holes in the hand and a screwdriver with one corner of the blade bent or broken. If the car gets a flat tyre I call the RAC and then stand waiting in the rain looking lost & hopeless until the chap arrives. I know from past experience that any attempt by me to change the tyre will result in the car being removed to a suitable location for something expensive to be fixed.

My brother on the other hand spent his working life wandering the world doing things with huge electrical high-tension bits and pieces and/or tiny little multicoloured whozits with numbers written as "ua" (or something like that) but he does have a blind spot (has to read the diagrams) when it comes to 220V/60Hz.

So I have great respect for anyone with any sort of technical ability and wouldn't want to stop anyone from persuing a dream of being an engineer.

But ..... when the flaming Labour partei start to harp on about the lack of wimmin engineers.... you know what they plan to do - which is to "encourage" girls and "discourage" boys. And you know how that will end up.

25th Nov 2014, 09:19
Although my job title says I am an Engineer, the regulating body I applied to join to get Chartered told me I was only a technician because I hadn't done enough Maths!

I've worked with a few female engineers, and more than a few male engineers. In both cases you get those that know how to calculate the number of smarties in the jar, but couldn't get the lid off! In the minority of cases in both genders you get the real stars, and you get those who seem to get career advancement because they needed to fill a quota of some minority.

Personally I really don't care your race, colour, gender, or personal preference for spending your spare time, just how well you do your job. Verbalising that opinion tends to get attention that you can do without....

25th Nov 2014, 09:37
henry _crun wrote:

Engineering isn't learnt at school. Useful bits like maths and physics are taught, and engineering subjects are taught at colleges and universities, but these are all in support of engineering, not engineering itself.

The real engineering learning comes from bedroom workshops, hobby magazines and work experience.

Boys do this, girls don't

With the exception of the last line, I'm with Henry on this. The ones who do, or have done engineering and scientific projects at home have a passion for the subject, to the rest it is just a job. The ones who do stuff at home can improvise, estimate and troubleshoot, the rest struggle.

Whilst there may have been more boys with constructive hobbies in the past, that isn't necessarily the case now. Far too may just seem to sit playing call of duty/grand theft auto when at hime. I recently worked with one young female engineer who was restoring an early 70s VW camper. She had a vehicle lift in her back garden and did the welding herself. You couldn't pull the wool over her eyes at work.

25th Nov 2014, 09:38
Most of the failures of training in STEM subjects during the Blair years and after can be laid at the door of SEMTA, the organisation created by the Labour Government to mastermind the provision and take-up of these subjects.

This organisation wasted many millions of pounds looking after itself, setting up new and equally over-staffed off-shoots, and talking as a substitute for any action. They produced thousands of tonnes of pointless reports, studies, 3 and/or 5-year action plans, all of which were ignored the day after they were written and published, always expensively with lovely artwork and nil value.

I attended quarterly meetings of the particular skills group I was interested in for about 6 years. The volume of hot air the SEMTA staff released would have got the Isle of Man airborne. But any challenge to their perception of what was best for the industry, from the industry, would be swept ruthlessly off the table. The SEMTA staff comprised time-expired civil servants (ex Manpower Services Commission, another useless organisation) and academics on huge consultancy rates, mostly from the University of Warwick.

SEMTA still exists; I just checked its self-aggrandising website. I wonder if it has managed do do anything useful yet? How many people in the aircraft maintenance industry have even heard of it? One of the problems when I was involved was that the civil servants and academics decided that aircraft maintenance required precisely the same skill set and qualifications as aircraft manufacturing. The manufacturers encouraged this, so that all the available grants went to apprenticeships in RR, Airbus and BAe.

Maybe all this has changed for the better. Maybe not. But if you want to know why engineering is not a popular choice of career, look no further than SEMTA's influence over the last decade.

cockney steve
25th Nov 2014, 10:01
@ Ogre you get those that know how to calculate the number of smarties in the jar, but couldn't get the lid off!

That's a wonderful line and perfectly captures th "all the gear and no idea" people who seem to hold positions of importance today.

25th Nov 2014, 10:02
The trouble is, we don't make stuff in UK anymore.
Tata Steel are selling off the Teesside and Scunthorpe long products businesses, just concentrating on automotive strip at Port Talbot.
British shipbuilding, heavy fabrication, bridge building is either non-existent or a pale shadow of its former self. The heavy and technically difficult bits now come from China, Korea, Thailand...
The opportunity of becoming a Chartered Engineer from a technical appreticeship are now vanishingly small. I achieved C.Eng status via day-release study and evening classes at a Technical College. It would be impossible to get those qualifications without full time Uni today.

In China, I have worked with many excellent female engineers, architects, technicians, welders, crane drivers, managers. Gender is quite irrelevant.

25th Nov 2014, 11:06
Very interesting Capot.
look no further than SEMTA's influence over the last decade.

Neither I nor my colleagues had ever heard of SEMTA, and were highly successful at getting students into engineering.

It would seem you think those two facts are connected; I concur ;)

25th Nov 2014, 12:01

And the reason is, essentially, that "the civil servants and academics decided that aircraft maintenance required precisely the same skill set and qualifications as aircraft manufacturing" if you'll forgive me quoting my own post.

Those of us involved with maintenance did our best to persuade the civil servants and academics that maintenance requires wholly different skills, approach, knowledge, quality management, and management from manufacturing. EG that working as a certifying Line Maintenance engineer on a Part 145 approval was not quite the same task as making 16 grundlesprockets a day on a lathe for fitting to new RR engines, under a Part 21 approval.

But no, they knew better than we did and that the work required the same skills, so eventually we gave up and left them to it. "We" being representatives of every part of the aircraft maintenance industry; operators, rotary, fixed-wing, training, CAT, private, independent MRO's, CAMO's, and so on and so forth.

By the way, it will surprise no-one who knows the UK CAA well that they saw no need to participate in this discussion. "Not our job, old boy" was the cry; as it is about so many things that are their job, in the hope that you'll leave them alone to get on with the latest round of navel-gazing.

25th Nov 2014, 12:05
One of the best car mechanics (I know that's not the same as an engineer but the analogy is valid) I've ever met was a 19 year old Polish girl Charlene Mitchell Robinson did well too! http://www.kyliebrasil.com/wp-content/gallery/neighbours/neighbours18.jpg :E

25th Nov 2014, 12:40
Fox3 has it pretty much right.

Used to teach physics in the UK

Although I taught science for 10 years I probably only taught physics for maybe 2 or 3 years because by the time I left there wasn't any physics left in the science curriculum.

FFS geology became part of the "physics curriculum" :ugh:

I have distinct memories of questions on the physics AS paper that wouldn't have been out of place in the primary school curriculum, that is how deep the dumbing down went.

When I quit teaching there was no longer any qualified physics teachers in our school. I was replaced by 2 biology teachers.

I too moved to Canada.

Unfortunately my 10 years of experience means squat here , so I jockey a desk for a living now.

Best move I ever made

simon brown
25th Nov 2014, 12:52
I find it laughable that Ed Miliband in 4 years is going to;

Overhaul the education system to such an extent that we will once again produce a well educated population especially in the sciences having instilled discipline at parental and educational level thus allowing teachers to actually teach and produce well educated kids

Turn this country in to an industrial power house to create such a demand for engineers in the first place

Persuade the fairer sex that engineering is the way to go

Oversee a huge hike in engineers pay compared with say estate agents or salesmen or cash in hand brickies

It simply isn't going to happen

He might as well declare he's going to eat the moon as its made from cheese

The guy is a deluded idiot

All we have become is a nation of uneducated home grown shelve stackers with foreigners migrating here to do the clever stuff as our own education system has been systematically ruined by liberal pinko clap trap.

Every technical meeting I go to these days, home grown engineers are in the minority and are usually second fiddle technically to our foreign counterparts...

A A Gruntpuddock
25th Nov 2014, 12:56
Have to say that two of the worst engineers I worked with were both female.

One was in my team and although highly intelligent displayed absolutely no aptitude for the job.

Seemed to be more interested in proving that girls could be engineers than actually being one and took any advice/ criticism personally.

Moved to another department (transportation)which was less rigorous and made a big hit because she was very literate and wrote very good reports (her submission for the ICE could be used as a model for all to follow).

Designed a project based on one of her reports though and all hell broke loose when we submitted final drawings for approval.

We had to split a 12m road into a dual carriageway with two 6m lanes and a 4m central reserve - nobody noticed that somehow or other her drawings managed to compress all this into the original 12m footprint, thereby ignoring that all the existing parking spaces on one side of the road were going to be lost!I was called in by her boss to why this had occurred and just kept repeating that they should ask her.

The other worked for central government and designed a road which tied into one we were building - both were built by the same contractor so I heard all about her antics.

These included designing a standard car park entrance into a lorry park, Contractor kept pointing this out, especially when he had difficulty building it because the paver and lorries had to make several cuts to get in whilst laying the blacktop! Was eventually all changed very quickly and at great expense just before the official opening.

She also had one of the bends superelevated but with drainage gullies on the high side of the road - ignored all comments by the contractor and so a completely useless drainage system was installed.

In both cases they seemed to think that engineering something that anyone could do but, as one contributor has already said, this ignores the fact that males are more likely to get involved in activities which include building things and so learn to see things in 3D.

Their biggest failure however, was to avoid asking others for help when they got stuck, because they were were worried about how it looked,

25th Nov 2014, 12:59
Have any of those civil servants and academics twirled a spanner/wrench? NO.
Thus they are totally dependent on Industry for advice. By the nature of bureacracies, they are going to listen, almost exclusively, to the large player(s) who can devote the most time and effort to courting them. Again from the nature of bureaucracies, they are going to go almost (and possibly completely) with their advice. This is because they represent the safe bet - the bureaucrats can claim that all the boxes were ticked (even if the tick sheet has to be completely changed to allow that); and that if (or when) it fails, they went with 'the best advice', so their @rses are covered either way.

I have seen exactly the same thing in Physics education. All the Institutions lined up to lobby Government policy, and have basically been ignored.

As to whether girls have a knack for engineering...
My experience (for what it's worth) is that, in a mixed school, around 1/3 of all students will decide to do A level Physics if there is a strong Physics department. Around 1/3 of those will be female. So, if there are 100 students in a year group (that's of those who have chosen to do A level), there will be 20 boys and 10 girls doing physics (n.b. the English national averages are 9 and 2 respectively, which is what happens when you don't have strong physics departments)
Of those, around 6 boys and 3 girls will do engineering, and 3 boys and 2 girls will do physics at degree level (The national averages are hard to calculate, but not good).
There would be one more girl in each group if the girls go to an all girls' school.

The latest reports on Engineering and Physics education in the UK are here

25th Nov 2014, 13:36
Getting a Science or Engineering degree or qualification is not easy - and I don't believe it ever was. So that could be a discouragement when comparing the possibilities of a degree in some other subject which can allow obtaining a good job in some other area. A further complication in engineering is that it appears that having got a good degree, there's a reasonable chance that because the graduate has demonstrated the capability of thinking, other areas such as banking offer much larger salaries to new graduates than engineering companies - I know of two cases where this happened.

Many years ago, I was visiting another Plessey establishment. One of the managers that I knew there was telling me how hard it was to get radio engineers 'because there aren't any around'. He was a bit upset when I told him 'there are plenty of radio engineers around, but very few prepared to work for the miserable salary you offer them!'

25th Nov 2014, 14:36
There is a deep failure to understand efficiency - You must pay me 50% than the cheapest guy, but I will make your company 100% more money than him.

..and if it's one thing good engineers do understand, it's efficiency.

25th Nov 2014, 15:25
It's all very simple according to Turkish President Erdogan here (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30183711): "You cannot put women and men on an equal footing," he told a meeting in Istanbul. "It is against nature."

Of course, you and I both could spend all day (or until the cows come home) discussing the merits of women engineers. Or catch up on more serious issues like having a few more beers... :E

25th Nov 2014, 18:01
In the absence of Slasher, my I assume - however briefly - his rle in such matters and, sexist bastard that I am, post a picture of an 'engineer' we'd all like to work on our motors ?


25th Nov 2014, 18:20
The grease nipples need some attention.

25th Nov 2014, 18:23
'Strewth, she's cutting a perfectly serviceable hose and her nails wouldn't let her anywhere near a motor with an implement in her hand!

After an excellent landing etc...

25th Nov 2014, 18:45
True female engineers are far more sexy than those brainless items posted.

One of our ladys told one of the product customer managers which then got passed along to the customer as he didn't have a clue, that she had a crack in her flange which she was just getting a 3G gusset weld applied to it, then heat treated for 4 hours until she reached her eutectic point. Then it would be delivered.

Where as what she was doing was heat soaking it because it was slightly out of tolerance on a large dimension. So she instantly knew just to heat the thing to get it in. Thus saving a f'ing fortune.

Buy the time the customer engineering team had stopped laughing at the explanation it was already on a boat going to some poo hole in Africa. And as the local temp was 30 degrees all year it would have been cockon dimensions when fitted. Unlike if it had been measured in -3 deg after sitting in the yard then measured and been spot on.

25th Nov 2014, 21:07
We had a very good looking blonde Swedish young lady writing test programs - which she was extremely good at - because she couldn't get a job in her chosen field of astro-physics.....in which she had both a Masters degree and a Doctorate!

She was good enough looking that I suspect she could have made more modelling for Playboy....

25th Nov 2014, 21:21
When I started work in the UK for GM, the only females in the place were secretaries, typists and 'tracers'. The tracers worked in the drawing office but were only allowed to copy existing drawings and/or add lettering/titles to drawings - no original design work was allowed.

Then when I moved to work in Denmark I found myself working shoulder to shoulder with female engineers and technical sales engineers - and the technicians were female, too.

I learned a lot (of respect) through that experience.

There was only one girl in our year at university (and possibly only one during three years).