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According to a report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF Energy in January 2017, job opportunities in STEM Industries are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations, creating 142,000 jobs between now and 2023. Despite this, demand for new talent and skilled workers in the STEM industries outstrips supply and there remains a skills gap; particularly amongst females.
The ‘Jobs of the future’ report, which was commissioned by EDF Energy as part of their ‘Pretty Curious’ programme which is aimed at changing perceptions and inspiring more young women into STEM careers, found that just 19 percent of the workforce is female, a statistic which translates to just 1 in 5 workers. This is despite girls continuing to outperform boys at GCSE level in STEM subjects, where in 2017 66% of girls achieved grades A*-C/9-4 grades compared with 62% of boys.
An increased emphasis on campaigns and events aimed at encouraging girls to consider taking STEM-based subjects at school means that things are gradually changing, but there remains work to be done. Schools and Colleges like South Staffordshire College recognise this and continue to work with the Lichfield branch of Soroptimist International to inspire young females into rewarding STEM careers.
Last month, South Staffordshire College and the Soroptomists; a volunteer movement who work together to transform the lives of women and girls, helping them reach their potential and realise their aspirations, came together to deliver a ‘Skirting Science’ event at the College’s Rodbaston Campus. Sponsored by Perkins Engines, the event, which took place on Wednesday 18th October 2017 saw 150 girls from schools across Staffordshire come to the College to explore the countless opportunities available to them.
With interactive workshops and activities delivered by other inspirational women who have a wealth of industry experience and work for businesses including JCB, Marstons, Wells Plastics and Staffordshire Police, the learners, who are pupils at schools including Staffordshire University Academy, The Friary, Cannock Chase High and Codsall Middle, had the chance to explore forensic science, veterinary and landbased science, Charpy impact testing and much more.
This year also saw the attendance of an inspirational special guest speaker, Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS. A Fellow of the Royal Society, Sue Ion is Chairman of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and represents the UK on a number of international review and oversight committees for the nuclear sector. Chair of the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board, Sue’s career spans more than three decades and she is a highly respected industry figure. Needless to say, her attendance at the event was one of the highlights of the day.
The students who attended the event also had the opportunity to find out more about the wide range of training opportunities available to them after completing their GCSEs at South Staffordshire College’s new AgriSTEM Academy. Designed to have a huge impact on the scale and quality of industry relevant training for the Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (AME) and the Agricultural Engineering & Technology (AgriTech) sectors, the AgriSTEM academy is home to courses in subjects including landbased technology, motorsport, engineering technologies and construction.
Speaking on behalf of the College, Principal of Rodbaston Campus Julie Sizer, said “We’re delighted to have hosted this event and I’m sure it provided some valuable inspiration and insights. As a College, we’re committed to encouraging female learners to consider STEM careers. These growing industries are of paramount importance to the UK economy and provide a fantastic range of rewarding career opportunities. It’s a pleasure to play a part in helping to shape the future, both for the learners who joined us at this event and for industry as a whole.”
Christine Corless of the Soroptomists added “Once again, the event was a great success and gave the young women who attended so many opportunities to explore subjects that they may not otherwise have considered when evaluating their career options. We’re delighted with how the event went and would like to thank all of those who helped to make it possible and who delivered some incredible workshops. A special mention must go to our guest speaker Dame Sue Ion; we were thrilled to be able to provide the students with the chance to hear from such fantastic and inspirational role model.”
Are you interested in a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths?
South Staffordshire College offer a wide range of courses and apprenticeships.
To find out more or sign up in just 25 seconds visit www.southstaffs.ac.uk or call
0300 456 2424
Don’t forget, the College also hold open events at dates and times throughout the year, so why not come along. With events taking place at all of the College campuses in Tamworth, Lichfield and Rodbaston, you can find your perfect date by visiting www.southstaffs.ac.uk/open-days