Skills Commission seeks evidence for fourth 'Spotlight' inquiry on women in engineering

The Skills Commission is calling for written evidence for it's fourth Spotlight inquiry, examining women in engineering and the skills system. This timely inquiry will be co-chaired by Lucy Allan MP, Preet Gill MP and Professor Sandra McNally.  

In the 'Year of Engineering', engineering skills are a particularly important area of focus for the Commission given the sector’s fundamental role in the Industrial Strategy and the wage benefits associated with the sector which could help to narrow the gender pay gap. Recent research from CVER shows that Engineering and Manufacturing Technology (EMT) is the most popular sector for men to complete advanced apprenticeships in, with average earnings at 28 found to be £29,26. In stark comparison, the most popular sector for women to complete advanced apprenticeships in is Child Development and Wellbeing, where average earnings at 28 are £12,038.[1]  This inquiry is kindly supported by the Learning & Work Institute, the Gatsby Foundation, the Hadlow Group and Veolia. 

The purpose of the Commission's inquiry is to investigate: 

  1. Why are women under-represented within engineering courses at levels 2-6?
    • What are the structural and cultural barriers to participation?
  2. What has been done and could be done to try to improve the situation?
    • What has been tried and tested in the UK and elsewhere? What is the evidence on their effects? What could be tried in the future?
    • How could upcoming skills system reforms be used to support more women in to engineering?

The Commission are now seeking written evidence submissions. Please use the questions provided to frame your response to the call for evidence, but do not feel restricted by or compelled to answer every question. The Commission welcomes all types of evidence, from data including data analysis or internal studies your organisation has carried out, to personal or organisational views on these issues. Submissions of evidence will not be published and the Commission will seek your permission before quoting from evidence submissions in our final report.

The Commission’s secretariat will also be conducting informal interviews to inform the inquiry – please get in touch if you would like to discuss the topic in more detail.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 21st May, 2018. Evidence can be submitted to beth.wheaton [at] Please also get in touch if you would like to discuss this issue in further detail on 020 7922 8003.

The Skills Commission is kindly supported by Jisc, The Edge Foundation and the Skills and Education Group.

[1] Chiara Cavaglia, Sandra McNally, and Guglielmo Ventura (2017) Apprenticeships for Young People in England: Is there a payoff? Research Discussion Paper 010. Available at: