Supporting STEM education in the Thames Valley
16 June 2014
In partnership with WISE, UTC Reading are working with local businesses and schools including Caversham Primary School, CGI UK, Cisco, Kier, Thames Water and Fujitsu to proactively encourage and empower girls to study and build a career in STEM.
The group wants to change the perception that a career in a STEM industry isn’t for girls, and to raise awareness of the different career paths and types of organisations that they could work within.
Joanne Harper, Principal of UTC Reading said: “Girls should feel empowered to study and build a career in these technical industries, and we believe that by engaging with them at primary school age there will be more awareness of the opportunities available.”
Since the WISE hub’s launch, UTC Reading has hosted the Berkshire’s first F1 in Primary Schools regional event and welcomed girls from across the region to the UTC to celebrate International Girls in ICT day.
Students from six primary schools were challenged to build and programme a Lego Mindstorms robot which would be able to swing and hit a golf ball. The visiting students - aged between four and six years old - were given a helping hand by UTC Reading students and staff from the UTC’s industry partner CGI UK.
The practical activity provided an opportunity for students to find out about the types of skills and knowledge needed in the IT industry and if it is something that interests them.
Alexandra Hopkins, Student Recruitment & Development Lead at CGI UK said:“To drive the gender agenda in our sector, we need to look at how computing and IT are presented at school. By working with primary schools, we can be aware of changes to their curriculum – such as the introduction of coding – and be able to support them by providing training and resources for staff and engaging activities for students, to help ensure that they aren’t turned off at this stage.
“By coming together as a wider professional hub through WISE and sharing best practice and ideas on how to drive the agenda forward, we are taking a positive step forward in securing our sectors future.”
If you’d like to get involved in promoting STEM to girls across the Thames Valley, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org