Girls urged to reject 'pigeon-holes' and go into engineering

Thousands of schoolgirls will be encouraged to consider a career in engineering as part of a new scheme by Network Rail.

It follows research revealing girls as young as seven have an "unconscious bias" against the profession - with most having switched off to the idea at all by the age of 14.

Network Rail wants to encourage more women to go into engineering Credit: PA

The firm warned that bias in adults such as careers advisers on what jobs are suitable for girls are partly to blame.

Network Rail chief engineer, Jane Simpson, joined the company as an apprentice aged 16 - and now managed a 500-strong team of engineers and technicians across the country.

If my school careers adviser had her way, I would have become a nursery nurse or teacher but I wasn't willing to accept being pigeon-holed like that.

– Jane Simpson, Network Rail

As part of the drive, schoolgirls will be offered work experience and introduced to the railway industry via open evenings.

Network Rail said ensuring the industry was open to all helped nurture a diverse workplace, which studies have shown helps to "increase productivity and creativity".