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International Women’s Day manufacturing round-up

Training programmes in Greater Manchester are helping women to launch careers in engineering, while major organisations have teamed up to establish a national Women in Manufacturing initiative.


Marking International Women’s Day on 8 March, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) highlighted how its Skills for Growth and Skills Bootcamps programmes are supporting women into roles in male-dominated industries, including manufacturing.

Examples include Brittaine Grace O’Connor, 25, from Rochdale, who is currently undertaking a Skills Bootcamp in Welding. She commented:

“Being a woman in the industry can seem daunting at first, but it shouldn’t be. There are far more women in the sector than people think and I think it is certainly something more women should look at getting into. I am trained in the Engineering department at Rochdale Training, and they have a female head of department which is great to see.”

Across the wider North West, government funding has recently been awarded to STEM ReCharge, a new initiative aiming to help parents and carers back into STEM careers.

An 18-month pilot will provide free-of-charge return to work career coaching, skills training and sector-specific mentoring to 100 returners with tech or engineering experience who have taken career breaks.

The programme will also provide free training and support for 30 employers to enable them to better recruit and retain returning talent.



At a national level, a network of organisations including the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), Made Smarter, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and others have joined forces to create a new Women in Manufacturing initiative.

Jennifer Castañeda-Navarrete, Senior Policy Analyst at IfM, explained:

“There remains a lack of understanding of the opportunities available to women in manufacturing. It’s essential that women from different backgrounds are represented and are recognised as contributing to the sector.

“We hope the initiative will increase the visibility of role models in a wide variety of manufacturing roles – from traditional shop-floor jobs to less traditional roles associated with the industry. Also, although women may be better at networking, we usually have less opportunities for networking so we hope the initiative can create more spaces where we can all participate.”


To help shape the initiative’s future direction, those interested are being encouraged to fill out a short survey.

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