Cogent announces training fund to support science sector female workforce development

Cogent, the UK skills council for the science-using industries, has announced further funding to support the training and development of 355 female employees across the UK Sector through its Women and Work programme.

Cogent’s successful bid into the Employer Investment Fund (EIF) which is managed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) will mean enhanced career development for those who take part.

The Cogent SSC Women and Work programme is a successful and established initiative for the science-using industries to support the skills development of women, particularly into non-traditional technical roles.

Employers are encouraged to review the skills development needs of their business and where a skills gap or progression opportunity is identified among female staff they may be eligible for a maximum £600 grant (per person) for their development.

Joanna Woolf, Cogent CEO said: “Research by Cogent shows that women are under-represented across many roles in the Sector. But it doesn’t take research to understand that this is a traditionally male-dominated sector – with men making up around 72% of employees.

“The Women and Work project has a real capacity to change lives and perceptions of women in these industries. Importantly it is linked to business objectives with a real focus on adding-value through skills.”

Research from UKCES shows that removing barriers to women working in roles traditionally occupied by men, and increasing women’s participation in the labour market, could be worth up to £23 billion to the economy.

This is the second year of the programme, with Cogent having already supported 119 women as part of a pilot programme during 2010 across the polymers, chemical, pharmaceuticals, downstream and nuclear industries.

Chloe’s story

Chloe Agg is a Building Services Engineer working for WSP CEL, a medium-sized company offering consultancy, design, engineering, procurement, construction and validation services principally to the process and manufacturing industries.

Chloe’s University projects led to her first job as a Graduate Mechanical Design Engineer with Johnson and Johnson. 18 months later she moved to WSP CEL as a Graduate Building Services Engineer undertaking the design and build of facilities in the Process environment.

Chloe took Life Cycle Costing Analysis with the support of the Women and Work programme, giving her some excellent new skills to help encourage her clients to choose more energy efficient designs that frequently cost more to build, but less to run.

Chloe said, “The course has really helped with demonstrating the benefits of making sustainable choices to my peers and our clients, and has reinvigorated my drive to improve the energy efficiency of all my projects.”

For further information please contact Julia Bennett on 01925 515 200.