International Women’s Day 2021 – STEM careers bring industry success for female students

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, Scarborough TEC wanted to highlight the importance of females considering STEM subjects such as Engineering, IT and Computing.

It may not be considered a typical career choice for female teenagers leaving school, however, Engineering courses at Scarborough TEC are proving increasingly popular as young people look to study courses that give them realistic career-based skills with the prospect of high-earnings and job satisfaction as they progress into their chosen industries.

With the Engineering workforce in our region currently employing only 8% females, closing the gender gap is a priority for the sector that typically advertises 939 job openings in our region every year.

Shannon Marson, 17, is currently studying for a Level 3 Engineering qualification at Scarborough TEC. Although she was initially apprehensive about starting the course, because of the small number of young women on the programme, she quickly realised the importance of a healthy balance of different genders, not just within College, but in industry too.

Shannon explained: “From a young age Engineering is something I’ve always been passionate about. When I decided to come to College I’d heard lots of good things about Scarborough TEC and when I came in, the new Automotive, Construction and Engineering building had just opened and I was really impressed with the workshops and facilities.  Scarborough TEC just felt very welcoming and a nice place to be.

“It was a bit strange when I first started just because of the ratio of boys to girls on the course. Biologically females have a different mind-set and we seem to see things more logically. Males can be more hands-on and practical. That means we can help each other out and all look at things to offer different viewpoints.

“A lot of business and companies employ females from an equality perspective but the balance isn’t just about gender equality; it’s about having people with different ways of looking at things who can work together to achieve successful outcomes.

“When you are child you are normally given things to play with that people think are appropriate; I loved Lego and I have a mind for maths and physics and I’ve always been a practical person. It’s not until you’re given the opportunity to explore other things you find out the things you enjoy doing; so we should let children play with whatever they want.”

Simon Gummerson, Head of Automotive, Computing, Construction and Engineering at Scarborough TEC, added: “We currently have 13 female students who train in our Automotive, Construction and Engineering Centre and five young women studying on our Computing & Games Design programmes.

“We have seen the numbers of females in these areas rising over the past few years but I hope that in the future we can attract even more to these courses. It’s important to increase the number of women considering and entering Engineering as an occupation as they can meet the skills demand and offer problem-solving skills whilst also closing the gender gap within the industry.”

Engineering, Computing and Games Design students at Scarborough TEC were recently given a sneak preview of the incredible new Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Technology facilities that are almost complete and will be unveiled in the coming months.

Scarborough is a member of the consortium of colleges, being led by York College, that has brought around £10million of capital funding to our region with the Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Technology. 

Shannon was one of the students who had chance to tour the new facilities and she was impressed with the different study and training options that would now be available. Shannon continued: “The facilities are going to be great for studying. They’re impressive and really colourful. We’ve started design engineering this year and the fact we have a new 3D printer can give us a lot of options to create our products rather than just designing them.”

Ann Hardy, Principal of Scarborough TEC, said: “We wanted to give our students a sneak preview of our Institute of Technology spaces, which are really creative and include engineering, design, robotics and some computing facilities.

“The students who came in to see it were absolutely buzzing and I am delighted that Shannon and the other students could see how impressive the facilities are going to be and how beneficial they will be to their studies and training.

“It’s important that we encourage young talented females, like Shannon, to explore their full potential, no matter what career path they choose. I’m certain that there is a bright future out there for all of our students and Shannon is a shining example of what makes an inclusive education environment an important foundation as students prepare to go into industry.”

Find out more about the Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Technology at Scarborough TEC’s next Higher Education virtual open event on Wednesday 10th March from 5-5.30pm. Register for your place now at or email [email protected]