SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report indicating that gender parity is over 200 years away, there has never been a better time to Press for Progress.

SFC published its Gender Action Plan in August 2016 and has worked with colleges, universities and stakeholders to seek ways to tackle the ingrained societal attitudes to gender-segregated curriculum areas such as construction trades, automotive engineering and computer science, as well as looking at subjects where men have traditionally been under-represented, such as health and social care or hair and beauty.

To mark International Women’s Day we’re sharing some great examples from colleges in Scotland to attract and retain more female talent into areas where women have been under-represented for generations.

Laura Phillips, HNC Women into Mechanical Engineering, City of Glasgow College

Laura describes herself as innately curious, with a passion for change that will positively impact human and technological advancement.

“In our ever-changing world the engineer and technological expert will play an increasingly vital role as these experts will be needed to help everyone have access to incredible new technologies.

“As a natural problem solver I thrive in an environment where I am challenged to create solutions, and this has developed while studying at City of Glasgow College.”

“My advice to other women is to take the first step. You don’t know what you are capable of until you challenge yourself. The journey may not always be easy but the satisfaction of achieving what you set out to do is worth any short-term sacrifices.”

Mary Kate Cleugh, HND Electrical Engineering, Glasgow Kelvin College

Mary Kate first came to the college on the Engineering Scholarship for senior phase pupils at local schools.

“I enjoyed maths and physics and was always interested to see how things work. My Dad’s an engineer, like my Grandpa, and I loved to help them work on models and circuits in my spare time. It was great experience and I knew then that I wanted to do something like this as a career,” she says.

“Some women are put off because engineering is seen a male-based thing.  It’s completely not! It’s a great opportunity and women have as much chance of being successful as any man. If it’s what you want to do, pursue it.”

Rachel McPheat, HNC Computing, New College Lanarkshire

Rachel was the youngest in her class, at 16, on the HNC Computing course, having left school in fourth year.

Rachel knew that she wanted to pursue a career in computing – but found that school just wasn’t the right path for her to reach her goal.

“I love being at college and being able to learn about something that I am interested in. When I first started, it was really nerve-racking as not only was I the youngest in the class but I was also the only female. However, this just made me more determined to succeed – girl power! “

“I want to keep challenging myself and exploring computing as a subject so hope to continue studying until I’ve achieved my HND then progress on to university. My dream is to one day work for a big company like Google – and I’ll keep working hard until I get there!”

Sophie Orr, HNC Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology, New College Lanarkshire

Having studied architecture at university after leaving school, Sophie quickly realised that she was more interested in the Computer Aided Design approach and applied to study HNC Computer Aided Architectural Design and Technology at New College Lanarkshire.

“When I was doing architecture at uni before, I ended up not liking it that much. I was always better at maths and physics when I was at school – I like that more than the art and design side of architecture.”

“I’m one of three females on my course, so it would be good to see more girls in this area, because it’s not very common and there are really good job prospects.”