Work­shops en­cour­age girls into STEM sub­jects

Strathearn Herald - - THE WEEKEND TICKET - RACHEL CLARK

Pupils from Cri­eff High School were among girls from across Perth and Kin­ross who learned about the ben­e­fits of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in fields based around science, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and maths (STEM) this week.

More than 150 girls at­tended an event at Perth College UHI on Tues­dayto learn more about the ben­e­fits of study­ing and work­ing in what’s re­ferred to as the ‘STEM in­dus­tries’.

Cur­rently, only one in four peo­ple work­ing in STEM in­dus­tries in Scot­land is fe­male.

At the event, the girls heard from a num­ber of fe­male speakers, in­clud­ing Tracy Scott from Seric Sys­tems Lim­ited and Lynsey Young from the Royal Navy, about how they got into their jobs.

The girls were also able to take part in a num­ber of work­shops at the college, in­clud­ing un­der­stand­ing com­puter and trans­port networks, and learn­ing the ba­sics of build­ing a com­puter.

Stu­art Macdon­ald, founder of SmartSTEMs – which aims to en­cour­age more teenage girls to study STEM sub­jects at school – said: “We are de­lighted to pull to­gether many won­der­ful in­dus­try part­ners and scores of gen­er­ous vol­un­teers to de­liver this great event for these young boys and girls.

“We’re proud to be play­ing our part in mak­ing Scot­land a great place to dis­cover and pur­sue STEM ca­reers.”

Cather­ine Etri, sec­tor de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor for busi­ness, man­age­ment, com­put­ing and leisure at the college, added: “Com­put­ing is for ev­ery­one and it is all around us, but when it comes to em­ploy­ment or ed­u­ca­tion – the ques­tion is, where are all the girls?

“Fe­males are en­thu­si­as­tic users of tech­nol­ogy, but they are con­sid­er­ably un­der-rep­re­sented in its cre­ation.

“From high school on­wards, there is a real lack of fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in this sig­nif­i­cant and rapidly ex­pand­ing area.

“There are se­ri­ous skills gaps across Scot­land and the UK and if we don’t seek to ad­dress these, there will be se­ri­ous con­se­quences for our in­volve­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion.

“This event at Perth College UHI will hope­fully help ad­dress this is­sue.”

The event comes as re­search shows science and tech­nol­ogy jobs will grow twice as fast as other oc­cu­pa­tions be­tween now and 2023.

EDF En­ergy, which helped to or­gan­ise the event at Perth College UHI, is aim­ing to get reach more than 2000 girls this year to help ad­dress the lack of women en­ter­ing the in­dus­try.

Paul Win­kle, the firm’s Scot­tish busi­ness di­rec­tor, said: “At the mo­ment only one in four peo­ple work­ing in core STEM in­dus­tries in Scot­land is a woman.

“En­cour­ag­ing girls to study sub­jects that will open up a ca­reer in these ar­eas is crit­i­cal to fill­ing the fu­ture skills gap.

“We are de­lighted to be sup­port­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion which is com­mit­ted to that.

“I hope this event will in­spire more girls to con­sider pur­su­ing a ca­reer in science, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing or maths.”

The other schools in­volved in Tues­day’s event were Pit­lochry High School, Kin­ross High School, Perth’s St John’s RC Academy, Perth Gram­mar School and Perth Academy.

Ca­reer path Event aimed to fos­ter girls’ in­ter­est in STEM sub­jects

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