AEROSPACE giant Aircelle has backed a government scheme to get more youngsters, especially females, interested in engineering careers.

The firm, Burnley’s largest private sector employer, welcomed 350 people to its Bancroft Road site as part of the Tomorrow’s Engineers event.

The company hopes to persuade more girls to take up apprenticeships in the industry.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which has organised Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, said it hoped to ‘challenge outdated negative perceptions about engineering careers’.

According to the Women’s Engineering Society, a network of women engineers, scientists and technologists, only six per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK is female.

More than 100 women work at Aircelle’s Burnley site, including almost half the board of directors.

Louise Robinson, Aircelle’s director of programmes, said: “We held an event in Runways, our work canteen, with stalls offering information to employees about education, recruitment, and initiatives we’ve been involved in like the Work Inspiration events.

“Safran [Aircelle’s French parent company] is a partner in the association Elles Bougent (Women on the Move), which encourages girls and young women to choose scientific and technical careers, by informing them about the job opportunities in these fields, especially as engineers.

“Our aspiration is that all this dialogue will encourage teachers, parents and school students in the Burnley area to seriously consider manufacturing and engineering as a future career.”

Aircelle chairman and chief executive officer Martin Sion said: “With women making up about 25 per cent of the Safran workforce, including hundreds in key operational positions, we are committed to gender equality, both as a matter of principle, but also because it demonstrably delivers a considerable commercial advantage.”