The rail industry has, for some time, realised that both women and minorities are under-represented in its workforce.
Now ScotRail is supporting a campaign to encourage more women and members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community into careers in engineering. With the slogan ‘Not All Engineers Wear Hard Hats’, ScotRail is determined to break down stereotypes and attract young people from all backgrounds, not only to engineering jobs in the rail industry, but to other organisations and sectors.
Across the UK, only 12 per cent of Britain’s engineers are currently women, while just nine per cent come from Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
In its own workforce, almost eight per cent of ScotRail engineers are women and just under one per cent are from the BAME community, albeit in a region of the UK which has a BAME population of only around six per cent.
Although a shining example of success in this area is ScotRail’s engineering director Syeda Ghufran, who represents both groups, the company is committed to developing a workforce as diverse as the communities it serves. Since 2017, the number of female train drivers has increased by 39 per cent while the number of female conductors has also risen, by 16 per cent.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, ScotRail, like many businesses, has been unable to take on any engineering apprentices in 2020. However, the operator is planning to double the intake in 2021, when restrictions begin to ease.
Karen Wallace, ScotRail’s equality, diversity and inclusion manager commented: “Historically, engineering has not been a sector that has attracted women or people from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic communities and, at ScotRail, we are absolutely committed to changing that. There is a place and space for everyone at ScotRail.
“Not All Engineers Wear Hard Hats is designed to challenge the conceptions behind engineers. There are so many varied and exciting opportunities within ScotRail for engineering apprentices from all backgrounds.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be an engineer.”