Derby College Focuses on Diversity in the Workplace

Professional Construction student at Derby College partaking in an activity on site Professional Construction student at Derby College partaking in an activity on site

Derby College is making significant in-roads in the recruitment of women and girls onto further education, apprenticeship, adult part time and higher education programmes.

In the last academic year (2016/2017) the College's Engineering Academy – based at its flagship Roundhouse technical campus and the purpose-built Ilkeston campus – included 92 female learners.


Nine of these were aged under 16 – for school pupils who combine vocational training with their schools-based GCSEs; 32 were aged 16 to 18 on FE and apprenticeships and 51 were aged 19 and above on Higher Education and part time programmes.

The Construction Academy included 40 female learners – nine aged under 16; 18 aged 16 to 18 and 13 were 19 and above.

Derby College is achieving this growing diversity across the Engineering and Construction Academies in a number of ways:

  • The College's Engineering Academy has proactively recruited female teachers as positive role models to students with an increase of 14% in the past two years.
  • Dedicated Females into Engineering and Construction information evenings are held every year to highlight the career opportunities available to women and girls in the sectors. These have ranged from school pupils being invited into the brick workshops for taster sessions to activities organised in partnership with STEM ambassadors from Rolls-Royce plc
  • Key females from local and regional rail, engineering and construction companies have given keynote speeches to students at sector specific events including those organised in partnership with the Rail Forum East Midlands
  • The College runs innovative and nationally-recognised Employment and Skills Academy and Employer Academy programmes – providing students with work experience, enrichment and mentoring opportunities, with a strong focus on opportunities for women in traditionally male-dominated industries
  • Derby College has engaged in the BRIDGE Project - a national HEFCE-funded project with Gateshead College and Northumbria University. They are working with school pupils, potential students, current students and employers to bring greater diversity into professional construction qualifications and apprenticeships. The focus so far has been on working with employers to investigate unconscious bias.

Tracey Hutchinson is Head of the Technology Faculty at Derby College which brings together Engineering, Construction and Motor Vehicle.

She said: Head of Construction Tracey Hutchinson explained: "Construction and Engineering are the backbone of our local and regional economies and it is therefore vitally important that we support employers to tackle current and future skills shortages by achieving gender-equal workplaces.

"By highlighting leading women as positive role models to students and championing the contribution that they make to these industries, we hope to inspire more young women to follow their lead.

"Through the BRIDGE project, we are specifically addressing why construction degree courses are not attracting students from a range of backgrounds.

"Currently, there are low numbers of women, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities represented on these degree courses.

"We need to find out why that is the case and what we and the wider industry can do to address that.

"The objective is to ensure that employers in this area are able to recruit from more fresh talent to meet the upcoming demand for skilled and professional qualified graduates."

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:52


BRIDGE - Building routes into degrees with greater equality Gateshead College


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