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Kate Myers of Crossrail calls on young women in the UK aged 16 to 19 to advise on bridging the gender divide in the engineering and construction industries


Kate Myers is the Young Crossrail Programme Manager, having worked for Crossrail since 2009 and managed communication on the skills agenda until 2012. She now runs Crossrail’s schools and young people engagement programme, which aims to encourage young people to consider careers in the engineering and construction industries. She has devised a new competition through a partnership with MyKindaCrowd.

Kate Myers
Kate Myers

“…Clearly having a more representative industry is the right thing to do, but it is also the practical thing to do as well…”

The competition

Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and we are keen to encourage a more diverse industry, that is why we are inviting young women aged 16-19 to come up with new ways to encourage the next generation of girls. The question is simple – how would you would you encourage the next generation of girls to become engineers? Submissions can be an idea on a simple word document, a poster or even a video.

My role at Crossrail

Crossrail I run the Young Crossrail programme which aims to inform and engage young people, and particularly girls, about Crossrail as well as the wider engineering industry. We thought that it would be great to mark the inaugural National Women in Engineering Day with a challenge to young women themselves and we have a great prize for them. I have commissioned MyKindaCrowd to run the challenge on behalf of Crossrail.

The prize

We will be marking National Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June. We have got a fantastic day lined up for the girls behind the top 30 ideas. They will be invited to an exclusive day at Crossrail HQ, where they will take part in a skills training session, a chance to meet some of our apprentices and grads over lunch followed by speed-networking with our CEO and senior women from the engineering and construction industries.

The day will end with a once in a lifetime tour of a Crossrail site! Five overall winners will be announced on the day and will also receive mentoring support for a year to provide virtual support and advice.

How the winning ideas will be used

We will use the winning ideas to inform the engagement work that we do at Crossrail and, depending on the suggestions, share them with the wider industry.

The importance of bridging the gender divide

CrossrailAs Crossrail is publicly funded and, essentially, the biggest show in town, we are keen to use our size and influence to improve the industry. Clearly having a more representative industry is the right thing to do, but it is also the practical thing to do as well.

It is predicted that engineering companies will need 1.86 million people with engineering skills from 2010-2020, which means we need to double the numbers of engineering-related apprentices and graduates.

The best of way of doing that is to widen the pool of people and increase the numbers of girls and young women studying maths and science at school and challenge misconceptions about engineering.

What attracts women to Crossrail

CrossrailAlmost a third (29%) of jobs at Crossrail Ltd are filled by women – compared to that of just 20% of job roles across the UK construction industry.

I think that some of the same things attract women as attract men – it is an amazing project that will change transport in London. That said, we have looked at our recruitment policies to attract a diverse range of people and we follow best practice on policies that benefit all employees, but particularly women, such as maternity leave and flexible working.

Other initiatives we’re working on to attract more women into the construction industry

We are continuing our schools engagement work, which aims aim to change perceptions of engineering and engineers and encourage more young people, particularly girls, to consider engineering and construction-related careers.

We are also rolling out a bespoke Inclusive Leadership Course where individuals will be encouraged further to recognise how they could contribute to a more inclusive culture, by exploring unconscious bias and language.

In addition, we have recently signed up to the government’s Women in Technology and Engineering Compact and Crossrail sits on a number of industry-wide groups that are looking at diversity across the whole industry.




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