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Perthshire girls get smart about STEM

Event participants

EDF Energy teamed up with charitable organisation, SmartSTEMs and Perth College UHI to inspire more girls to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

More than 150 S1 and S2 girls from across Perthshire gathered on 12 December at the college to learn about the benefits of careers in STEM.

Research shows that that science and tech jobs will grow twice as fast as other occupations between now and 20231 but the number of women currently working in core STEM industries in Scotland is just one in four.

The girls heard from Tracy Scott from Seric Systems Limited and Lynsey Young from the Royal Navy about their journeys as women in STEM before they had the chance to get hands-on and take part in STEM workshops. The workshops included Networks Galore! which helped them understand networks; from computers and social through to transport and movie stars as well as Think Like a Computer which taught the girls the basics of building a computer.

SmartSTEMs hub events target girls aged 10 to 14 and aim to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.

Catherine Etri, Sector Development Director: Business, Management, Computing and Leisure at Perth College UHI said: “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 underrepresented 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, 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.”

Stuart Macdonald, Founder of SmartSTEMs said: “We are delighted to pull together many wonderful industry partners and scores of generous volunteers to deliver this great event for these young girls. Proud to be playing our part in making Scotland a great place to discover and pursue STEM careers.”

SmartSTEMs’ partnership with Scotland’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, EDF Energy, has helped them reach more than 2,000 girls through their hub events across Scotland this year.

The headline sponsorship is part of EDF Energy’s wider commitment to education which includes its ‘Pretty Curious’ programme; a drive to change the perception of STEM subjects and help address the lack of women entering the industry.

EDF Energy’s Scottish Business Director, Paul Winkle, 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 and I hope this event will inspire more girls to consider pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.”

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