More Young Women Encouraged to Take Up Engineering

William Cook Rail’s first female materials engineer has spoken out to encourage more women to consider careers in industry.

Rebecca Feldman, a Cambridge graduate in Natural Sciences, joined the company in 2014 and is based at its Leeds factory, where high-value products for the global rail industry are manufactured. William Cook Rail exports 80% of its output and is a world leader in passenger bogie and coupler systems.

Rebecca joined a graduate training scheme at a large steel company, as one of only three women in an intake of 25, before taking her position at William Cook Rail, where she provides technical and scientific support to the design and manufacturing team.

She said: “We place great importance on the correlation between the environment we create for our team and the high standards of service we deliver to our customers.
She also added: “I would encourage girls and young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at school and university. There are so many opportunities in these fields and there is a shortage of these skills.”

According to statistics from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK needs an additional 87,000 graduate level engineers each year between now and 2020, but the higher education system is only producing 46,000 engineering graduates. At present only 8% of the UK’s professional engineers are female, the lowest proportion of any European country.

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