WISE have launched a project called People Like Me, an innovative method to engage girls with careers in STEM. People Like Me helps to address the lack of girls in these areas by showing the girls that people with similar characteristics and abilities are happy and successful working in STEM.
WISE is a campaign built to inspire girls to study and forge careers within the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector. The campaign advises employers in these sectors on how to generate environments where those women can do their best work and succeed.
People Like Me was developed around the ‘Not for People Like Me’ research led by WISE board member Professor Averil MacDonald and sponsored by Network Rail. The research helped to explain why girls and other groups are under-represented in STEM, arguing that a fresh approach is needed.
The approach aims to support recruitment of girls into STEM subjects post-16, especially subjects that girls normally do not choose such as physics and engineering.
At the moment physics is the third most popular A-level for boys, but only the nineteenth for girls, and of 14,000 engineering apprentices, only 450 were girls. Failing to recruit girls into these areas is limiting for girls in their career choices and also presents a real threat to the UK economy.
The UK produces 12,000 engineering graduates a year and there are currently 54,000 vacancies. In 2014, 39% of businesses who were looking for employees with STEM skills had trouble recruiting those staff, while 26% of core STEM vacancies in England are hard to fill. This is a major barrier to UK economic growth.
WISE is working alongside Tech UK on an aspiring plan to reach 200,000 girls, showing them how STEM subjects can open doors to a range of jobs to suit their personality type. Over 60 people from 40 different companies came to the launch of the People Like Me goes digital project. CA Technologies is the first founding sponsor of the new project and promoter of the People Like Me Careers in Digital Pack. WISE will develop an e-learning package to train 7,000 ambassadors to deliver People Like Me sessions and put the quiz and other content onto a mobile platform to reach more girls, with the aim of persuading them to choose STEM subjects, apprenticeships or other STEM vocational qualifications when they chose options at 16.
People Like Me is a ground-breaking resource offering training courses for teachers, STEM ambassadors, careers advisors and others working with young people to show girls that people just like them can thrive and succeed working in science, technology or engineering.
To find out more about WISE and the fantastic work their doing for women in STEM, please click here.
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