Schoolgirls to be encouraged to pursue careers in STEM industry

Barclays Women in Business Awards (L-R): Alex Pryce, Barlcays; Beth Butterwick, Bonmarche; Victoria Woodings, Principle Holdings; Jennifer McDuff, Brathay Trust; Joanna Robinson, Mansfield Pollard & Co; Debbie Mullen, Barclays.
Barclays Women in Business Awards (L-R): Alex Pryce, Barlcays; Beth Butterwick, Bonmarche; Victoria Woodings, Principle Holdings; Jennifer McDuff, Brathay Trust; Joanna Robinson, Mansfield Pollard & Co; Debbie Mullen, Barclays.
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Opportunities available to young women in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) will be showcased at an event hosted by a non-profit organisation.

The ‘STEM for Girls’ event, aimed at year eight and nine girls from local schools, is organised by Ahead Partnership and will highlight the opportunities and industries in the area.

A total of 22 businesses are set to attend the event including Siemens and Asda, with students given an opportunity to engage with female role models from across a range of industries in the Leeds City Region.

Stephanie Burras, CEO of Ahead Partnership, said: “This is the first large-scale cross-school event of its kind for Ahead Partnership and comes at a time when a focus on engagement with STEM subjects is high on the agenda for schools both locally and nationally.”

Ms Burras also added that it was important to respond to the education agenda in a way that will benefit the future workforce.

STEM for Girls comes at a time when there is a great disparity between genders in many STEM industries. In 2012 a study found that just 13 per cent of those working in STEM occupations in the UK were women.

As a result, the event will conclude with a roundtable looking at why girls shouldn’t shy away from careers in STEM industries and how gender stereotypes might be dispelled.

Joanna Robinson, managing director of Mansfield Pollard, who will round off the session with a speech, said: “As the leader of an engineering business I’m keen to see more girls take up the rewarding challenges that can come from careers in engineering, science and technology.”

She added: “Access to a broader pool of talent can only be beneficial and having a work force which is more representative of the community at large is also very important.”

The event, held at Asda Merchandising Centre of Excellence in Leeds city centre, will take place on Thursday and will form part of Ahead Partnership’s flagship Make the Grade programme – an initiative focused on driving pupils’ aspirations whilst creating long-term partnerships between schools and businesses.