Unlocking potential through Women and Work programme

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) Women and Work project is an initiative to help women secure better training to fulfil their potential. 

Research by Cogent, the skills council for the chemical industries, 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 74% of employees.

As part of a drive to tackle this longstanding diversity issue, Cogent has, during 2010, been rolling out the initiative that matches government funding with funding from employers. It aims to help remove perceived barriers to employment and progression in male dominated sectors.

Cogent had an initial target to recruit 100 women onto the scheme, which due to its popularity, became over-subscribed. Subsequently an extra 17 places have since been granted by the UKCES.  Indeed, 11 of the 35 of the companies that took up the offer to science-based companies come from the chemicals industry, and 33% of the women in the Cogent scheme are employed in the chemicals industry.

Says Julia Bennett, the Programme Manager:  “we’ve had excellent uptake of the managerial strand of the programme, and a more gradual take up of the technical strand. I’m delighted with the response – there’s a real appetite for training among the female workforce.”

Danielle Tatterson, a Process Development Scientist working for Croda International PLC, has been able to take advantage of the scheme. Danielle works along side Chemical Engineers to help, amongst other things, to improve the yield and throughput of the plant. She was very keen to do the course on “Chemical Engineering for Scientists”, which was subsequently funded by Croda and the Women and Work Initiative.

Danielle said: “the course was very valuable and has helped me communicate better with the rest of the team and particularly with the Chemical Engineers.

Danielle’s Supervisor Michael Page said, “Croda Europe strongly believes in enabling employees to reach their full potential through development, training and education. Having attended this course myself some years ago, I am confident that the knowledge which Danielle has gained will enable her to make a significant contribution to Process Development within Croda, hopefully for many years to come.”

Julia Bennett added: “The Women and Work project has a real capacity to change lives and perceptions of women in the chemical industries. Danielle presents an excellent example of where the funding has helped a female member of staff who will also be a role model for others.”

For further information on Cogent’s ‘Women and Work’ initiative, please email julia.bennett@cogent-ssc.com 

Danielle Tatterson