FURNESS companies are stepping forward to provide male role models in primary school classrooms.

Apprentices from Siemens Subsea in Ulverston are the latest volunteers to sign up for a mentoring scheme organised by Furness MP John Woodcock.

Mr Woodcock launched the initiative in January after a meeting with headteachers to discuss ways of providing male role models in schools that have predominantly female staff.

After serving as a mentor at several Barrow primary schools himself, the MP wrote to local businesses asking for recruits.

Mr Woodcock said: "There is a lot of evidence that male role-models are an important part in tackling problems of under-achievement among boys, providing motivation and helping them to understand the value of school and study.

"Our local schools have superb teaching staff, but in many cases the teachers are overwhelmingly female, so it is fantastic that local employers are signing up to this scheme.

"I’m really grateful to the lads from Siemens Subsea for signing up as mentors at Croftlands School – I know they will make a big impression with the children there."

Other businesses which have expressed an interest in joining the scheme include GlaxoSmithKline in Ulverston and BAE Systems.

Businesses or individuals who would like more information about the initiative are asked to call Catherine Reay on 01229 431204.