Just before Christmas the UK Resources Centre – known by us in the UK simply as ‘the UKRC’ heard that the UK government [through its Department for Business Innovation and Skills] will cease to fund it at the end of March. The UKRC has been funded by the UK Government for the last six years to be the national leading and co-ordinating organisation for activities around women training and working for jobs in SET. During this time it has funded a number of research projects and run training and development activities for women and employers, as well as campaigning to keep SET and gender issues in the public consciousness. It has close working relationships with universities and employers. To see it close in April – which is the likely outcome of all central Government funding ceasing – is bad news for all of us working in this area.
Two useful actions right now would be:
- To explore ways in which we can support the UKRC so that something of its activities can survive and the expertise built up by its staff is not lost as they are made redundant or look for work elsewhere.
- To explore, at the same time, ways that the legacy and expertise that the UKRC has built up is migrated into other organisations that might be more financially healthy at the moment. So that work can continue in other ways.
The worse outcome would be that the last 6 years of work becomes a historical happy event: to be looked back on as a halcyon time for work on gender and SET in the UK, and we wait for it to be re-invented.