WISE calls for businesses to help 200,000 girls see what they can be
As it launches the next phase of its People Like Me initiative, WISE is calling for more businesses to help it achieve its target of reaching 200,000 girls by 2020. The initiative aims to help girls understand the breadth of careers open to them in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM), by introducing them to role models who are working in these fields.
Evaluation by the Open University* following a People Like Me session showed:
- 57% of girls reported that they were now more interested in studying science and maths at school
- the percentage who were not interested at all decreased from 10% to 4%
- 96% of mothers stated they would be really pleased to support their daughter if she wanted a STEM career
Helen Wollaston, WISE Chief Executive Officer, says, “The initiative has been tremendously successful in gaining the interest of both schools, companies and parents. It’s clear that delivering interesting and thought-provoking career-focused workshops to girls has resulted in an impact on the ambitions and interest in STEM among those who participated.”
Girls remain under-represented across core science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Recent research by the University of Roehampton has revealed that 30,000 fewer girls are studying key stage four level computing subjects compared to when the computing curriculum was introduced in the UK in 2014.
Helen continues: “This is yet more evidence clearly demonstrates the need for us to come together and take action to reverse the situation. Failing to recruit girls into these subjects is not only limiting for the girls, as they miss out on great careers in exciting areas, but also represents a real threat to the UK economy. We want businesses to help us deliver the People Like Me resources which show girls that choosing computing, maths and physics will open doors to the jobs of the future.”
People Like Me is unique in its twin aspirations as a strategy for both schools and industry engagement. It encourages employers to raise aspiration by delivering careers advice to girls, in schools or on their premises, by professionals in STEM occupations who can challenge gendered stereotypes about these careers.
Sarah Atkinson, Vice President, Communications, CA Technologies, which co-founded the initiative adds: “Having run many People Like Me sessions, we know that the unique aspect is that girls, teachers and their parents are exposed to our in-house teams who can explain face to face what it is like to work in these incredibly important roles, helping girls to identify with them and be inspired to achieve it for themselves.”
Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK which supports the initiative concludes: “People Like Me is going from strength to strength in changing attitudes as the research shows. Many ask what they can do to make a difference, and this represents a practical way for businesses to get involved: A way to offer valuable insights into STEM careers and inspire their next generation of potential employees. This is incredibly important not just for the individuals involved but for the future of UK innovation.”
Since its launch in 2015, People Like Me’s resource has been delivered to over 6,500 girls around the UK by a range of partners. The new training platform, launched today, will make it easier for businesses to subscribe to the programme and start delivering sessions to girls and helping to inspire them.
For more info visit: bit.ly/WISE-People-Like-Me