Strong results for Academy programme to enhance diversity

An award-winning Royal Academy of Engineering programme to boost the employment prospects of engineering graduates from diverse backgrounds has resulted in at least 250 engineering employment opportunities over the last five years.

These opportunities including internships, graduate placements, and jobs, according to figures published on 27 July. The Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP) targets university engineering students, and has reached over 800 students from 66 universities since its launch in 2015. Of the students already involved in the programme 28% are female, and over 90% are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The Academy has collaborated with over a dozen leading engineering employers to provide students with training and networking opportunities that it says will help and encourage them to apply for engineering jobs. The programme will launch for its sixth year in August with a series of virtual events, starting on 19 August. These will include workshops, interview and assessment centre training, and ‘insight sessions’ led by engineers. Each event also includes a speed networking session for students to meet engineering recruiters. Companies currently confirmed to support the scheme this year include AMEY, Buro Happold, National Grid, Network Rail, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Teledyne e2v, and WSP.

GEEP has been developed in partnership with engineering employers, and is delivered by SEO London, with support from the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AfBE-UK) and the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). The programme targets engineering undergraduates who are female or from socially disadvantaged or BAME backgrounds with a focus on universities outside the Russell Group.

The RAE’s own Research shows ‘a stark difference in outcomes’ for engineering graduates of white and BAME origin entering engineering occupations, with 60% of white engineering graduates employed in engineering occupations after six months, compared with only 40% for BAME graduates. Following a successful three-year pilot, GEEP launched as a full-scale programme in 2018, and was named winner of the Race Equality Award 2019 at Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards.

Academy CEO, Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, said: “The Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme is a vital part of our proactive work to bring diverse talent into engineering roles, and we welcome the support of engineering employers in sharing best practice and promoting inclusion in the workplace. We continue to strive for greater diversity in the engineering profession, and to advance engineering’s contribution to an inclusive economy that truly works for everyone.”