It’s hardly news that UK industry needs to attract more women to STEM sector careers, but what might be news to some is the depth and breadth of female talent emerging into these sectors today. While this is by no means the only theme in our October news roundup, it’s certainly a welcome one for a variety of sectors where the skills shortage is all too real. So for news about women in F1 and female leaders in tech – and plenty more besides – read on!
Arrival to shift production to the US
UK electric vehicle maker Arrival has announced that it plans to make a sizeable reduction in its workforce, and shift production of its electric delivery van from Oxfordshire to the US. Though shifting commercial focus to the US, it will keep its Bicester factory for customer trials.
This will be the second round of job cuts at the company after it laid off 800 people in the summer. The company built its first van at its Bicester, Oxfordshire plant just a few weeks ago, and had previously announced it was pausing expansion in the US. The turnaround is a response to the tax credit announced as part of the US government’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to be worth between $7500 (£6660) and $40,000 (£35,530) for electric commercial vehicles. Arrival also cited the “large addressable market size, and substantially better margins” offered in the US as further motivation for the move.
This is sad news for Arrival in the UK, but will create an opportunity for UK employers to access a great pool of very talented engineers. We invite anyone affected to get in touch.
Formula 1 working on new female racing category
Formula 1 is working on a new women's racing category aimed at opening up pathways for female drivers to the top of the sport. We’re hoping this encourages more women into the sport as a whole, including engineering.
Formula 1 says its plan is to launch the new category as early as next year, and for it to complement the W Series, which curtailed its season early after financial difficulties. Full details have not been released at this stage, but a spokesperson said Formula 1 is committed to ensuring greater opportunities for women to progress, while insiders say the new category, and the financial backing it requires, will definitely become a reality.
There could be between 12-15 seats available in the category, which is aimed at women from the age of 16.
Manufacture & Technology
ABB wins $170m order to power more than 300 new European and UK trains
Tech company ABB has received massive new orders from Spanish firm Stadler Valencia, which aim to ‘modernise and reinforce’ train transportation in countries including Spain, Portugal, the UK, Germany and Austria, as well as some European railway corridors.
ABB will supply its traction converters and motors to power the trains. Many of the trains are based on Stadler’s tram-train Citylink model, a barrier-free light rail vehicle specially designed to connect city centres with surrounding areas without a change of train. Citylinks can operate electrically on the tram network and mainline services, at speeds of up to 100km/h.
AI Standards Hub launches in the UK
A new AI Standards Hub initiative has launched in the UK, aiming to improve how artificial intelligence is used across the economy. It was launched by the Alan Turing Institute, the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), supported by the Office for AI and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
It is part of a ten-year national plan to build on the UK’s strengths in AI and recognise its importance in increasing resilience, innovation, productivity and growth in public and private sectors. It will also foster collaborations between regulators, academic researchers and industry to champion standards and responsible AI in sectors such as healthcare, transport and finance.
Meanwhile, the government has said an extra £211m funding will boost battery research and innovation in the UK, delivered through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Faraday Battery Challenge, which began in 2017 and supports the expansion of battery manufacturing in the UK. The sector could provide 100,000 jobs in battery gigafactories and the supply chain by 2040, the announcement added.
Survey reveals better quality jobs align with higher wellbeing
Researchers from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found that graduates who highly rated the design and nature of their work in the Graduate Outcomes survey were more likely to say that they were happy, satisfied with their lives, and that their own activities were worthwhile.
Based on data from 217,305 graduates from 2017 – 2019, the study found a positive relationship between HESA’s composite measure of the design and nature of work (combining an assessment of whether their work is meaningful, uses the skills they learned in education, and fits with their future plans) and three wellbeing measures including the question “How happy did you feel yesterday?”.
The positive association between the design and nature of work and wellbeing was stronger for the questions that asked, “How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?” and “To what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?” compared to the question on happiness.
Executives & Leaders
Computer Weekly announces the Most Influential Women in UK Tech 2022
Computer Weekly has revealed who is on the 2022 list of the 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech, and it makes for inspiring reading.
This year’s winner, Flavilla Fongang, founded 3 Colours Rule and the Global Tech Advocates Black Women in Tech group. She chose to move into the technology sector from the fashion industry because of the tech sector’s potential to work with “disruptors” and “game changers”. She founded the GTA Black Women in Tech group to make role models in the sector more visible and give black women a platform to speak about technology-based subjects. Others include Sarah Turner, CEO and co-founder, Angel Academe - a pro-women and pro-diversity angel investment group focused on technology and Charlene Hunter, CEO of Coding Black Females which she in 2017 to help black female software developers meet each other and network.