A new partnership, STEM Accord, created to provide co-ordinated action to inspire more young people, and particularly girls, to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will be announced at the WISE annual conference. STEM Accord has been created by WISE, the ERA Foundation, STEM Learning, Design and Technology Association (DATA) and The Smallpeice Trust, working in alignment with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Engineering UK and the IET and guided by the recommendations of the Perkins Review.
Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive of WISE, the campaign for better gender balance in STEM, says: “Despite hundreds of outreach programmes, most girls in this country still think that science, tech and engineering aren’t for them. We can’t allow this to continue. By joining forces, we will make sure that all girls and their families get the message that these subjects open doors to the jobs of the future”
Dr Jo Kennedy, Board Member of the ERA Foundation, adds: “As far as we are aware this will be the first multi-organisation initiative to deliver STEM outreach to schools in line with the recommendations of the Perkins report, Engineering UK and the Royal Academy of Engineering. This collaboration is vital to provide more cohesive support to students, teachers and parents across the UK to ensure that as many young people as possible and particularly girls are inspired and understand the potential STEM careers that could be open to them.”
STEM Accord aims to generate impact through combining effort and resources across the existing effective outreach programmes run by the founder member organisations.
This approach is a key part of WISE’s 2019 action plan for creating future skills for the UK, taking a holistic approach to improving gender balance in STEM, from classroom to boardroom. Alongside the work as part of STEM Accord, WISE’s priorities for 2019 are:
- Ensuring that women have the opportunities to retrain or return to STEM careers at all stages of their careers. This includes a call to action for employers, Government and universities, to provide training for women to take up jobs in technology, to ensure that, as a priority, women are able to access life-long learning opportunities to retrain and reskill in STEM, including providing easy to access routes into work such as taster days, internship, returnships and training.
- Working together with business and industry, through WISE’s Ten Steps business programme, to help them show leadership by improving the representation of women in technical and management roles. WISE is calling on all organisations, from the classroom to the boardroom, to set a target for the percentage of girls and women in STEM to create sustainable change.
Helen Wollaston explains: “Technology is transforming our lives and yet more than 80% of those working in technology are men. We need to address this now to ensure that women have opportunities for the best paid jobs, businesses can fill the technical roles they need, and women can play their full part in shaping our future world.”
Helen concludes: “We know that industry, education and Government have a shared objective here; to encourage more girls into STEM and provide opportunities for them throughout their careers. It makes sense for us to work together to create sustainable change. We must take ownership, because we all have a contribution to make to ensure that the UK has the necessary STEM skills for the future. By working together, we can create a greater impact than we can separately. We’ll have broader insight, more ideas and better initiatives.”