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PepsiCo inspires women to work in engineering

23 June 2015

23 June 2015 - National Women in Engineering day: giving students a taste of what it’s like to be a food engineer

On the 23 June and continuing throughout the month, PepsiCo engineers and technicians will be encouraging around 300 female students to consider STEM careers. With a clear objective to transform perceptions of engineering and food manufacturing, the initiative hopes to attract more women to roles in the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector. National Women in Engineering Day is dedicated to raising the profile and celebrating the achievements of female engineers across the UK. 
Currently the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%.
President of Women's Engineering Society Dawn Bonfield commented:
“We are delighted that PepsiCo are supporting National Women in Engineering Day. As a company PepsiCo recognise the need for a diverse workforce and have some excellent role models who lead the way in promoting the role of women in engineering to the next generation.
The UK celebrates National Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2015 and we are delighted that Pepsico are supporting this important day, and encouraging the next generation of girls to consider careers in engineering. It is only by working together with industry to showcase theseexciting roles that we begin to change perceptions and inspire girls to think differently about these exciting career opportunities.”
PepsiCo Site Lead and Engineer Tracey Foster commented:
“Historically gender stereotyping has deterred young women from pursuing careers in traditionally male dominated professions such as engineering. Hosting events like these brings to life what is involved in being an engineer, breaking down any misperceptions there might be out there. As an industry we want to attract the best talent, both female and male, to help us drive the food and drink industry into the future. To do that it’s important to break down anybarriers.”
When students think of a science or engineering career, the food and drink industry may not be front of mind, even though it’s the largest manufacturing sector in the UK. According to the Food and Drink Federation, the sector employs 400,000 people across a number of jobs - that’s more than double the size of the automotive industry and more than half the size of aerospace.  There is a skills shortage and by 2020 the sector will need over 170,000 new recruits – many which will be engineers, food technicians, scientists and roles requiring STEM skills.
Tracey Foster continues, “It’s our job to communicate the huge array of exciting roles within our industry. We have some great female ambassadors within PepsiCo who regularly work with local schools to educate both students and teachers on the exciting career paths offered through STEM subjects.” 
“Internally, our coaching and personal development programme – Strategies for Success – has also changed the once male-dominated culture in the supply chain area of the organisation – in 2009 there were no females in supply chain leadership, and I am proud to say that now 50% of our manufacturing sites are led by female engineers.”
For the last eight years PepsiCo has been recognised as a top employer for women, and earlier this year was awarded the Business in the Community ‘Advancing Women’ award for its ‘Strategies for Success' programme.

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