News & Events

Tuesday 23 June, 2015

GB Education Centres: Supporting National Women in Engineering Day

Women in Engineering

Among the impressive number of challenging new targets presented in the Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report launching this week is an aspiration to have a minimum 40 percent of women in both management and leadership grades by 2025. If we are to meet that commitment in 10 years, it makes complete sense that we are doing all we can today to excite young 13-15 year old women about our business and what it has to offer. Nowhere is the issue more pertinent than in supply chain. In the UK, only seven percent of the engineering workforce is female (The IET 2013 Skills Survey) and, worryingly, almost half of all maintained co-ed schools in England (49%) sent no girls on to take A Level physics in 2011 (It's Different for girls, Institute of Physics, 2012).

Today is National Women in Engineering Day and our five education centres have been doing their bit to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering and the manufacturing industry.

In total 156 students (boys as well as girls, although girls accounted for 59%) were involved in visits that focused on this issue across our sites in East Kilbride, Wakefield, Milton Keynes, Edmonton and Sidcup. As well as enjoying a factory tour, students met with female engineers currently working for CCE. Feedback forms indicated that 80 percent of the participating students felt the visit helped them appreciate more about career opportunities within manufacturing for women, while a further 86 percent said this helped them understand more about the importance of gender diversity to business.

Junaid Bhatti, a GCSE Business Studies student from Bushey Meads School in Hertfordshire who visited Milton Keynes commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Coca-Cola Enterprises and dearly hope Coca-Cola do something about the image of engineering and how it can appeal to females.”

Pupils were also challenged take part in a blog competition as a follow-up to their experience. Please take a moment to read the winning entry below. 

Bill Muirhead, Senior Manager, Education Programme EU


Winning Blog: Emily Williams, student at Berkhamstead School

My Visit to Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Opportunities for Young Women in Manufacturing

My visit to Coca-Cola Enterprises offered a look into the diversity within the manufacturing industry and the wide range of careers on offer, particularly involving the use of languages. I also enjoyed learning about the canning process at the site and the machinery used to make it possible. Furthermore, I was very interested to hear more about the graduate scheme within the company and the opportunities that it can be present both in the UK and abroad in a range of roles.

Young women, in particular, often face public opinion and stigma when choosing their career paths. When making such personal decisions we are often influenced by the restrictive views of others unnecessarily. This can seriously limit the potential of young women who form an important part of every industry at a multitude of levels. The manufacturing industry is no exception and encourages women to enter the predominately male-dominated industry. Some women have experienced great success and enjoyment in their roles within the industry but these numbers are unfortunately low. However, these figures are only restricted by the mass opinion that manufacturing is only a career accessible to men. Young women are just as suited, if not more so, to the wide variety of jobs available within the manufacturing industry and should definitely not limit themselves by overlooking this as a career path. Promotion and challenging work is accessible within the industry, the same as any other, and the manufacturing industry itself is one of the fastest growing industries around the world. Exciting career opportunities are available to young women in manufacturing and should most definitely be considered.

Bill Muirhead

Senior Manager, Education Programme EU


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