Recently Accenture hosted ‘Girls in STEM’ bringing together 1,800 girls from across five locations in the UK and Ireland. The girls, aged 11 – 15, had the chance to try their hand at coding, take part in workshops and hear from inspirational speakers from the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) sector, including representatives from the BBC and Women in Gaming, as well as Naomi Mitchison, an IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year, and Carrie Bishop, director of Futuregov.
The events, in London, Dublin, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester, were the biggest Accenture have held to date, and they aim to encourage more girls into STEM subjects and careers.
A recent report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in July 2015 found that 43 percent of vacancies in STEM roles are hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills. Accenture and the Confederation of British Industry also published research in December 2015, which found that job creation is up, but 46 percent of respondents reported a lack of skills, which can lead to a major impact on UK’s labour market competitiveness. For that reason, 52 percent cited the development and maintenance of digital skills as having a new urgency.
At the same time, an Accenture survey from last year found that 60 percent of girls aged 12 feel that STEM subjects are too difficult to learn. This suggests the issue needs to be tackled early in the school career of girls and that parents, schools and industry need to collaborate to address the issue.
“It is a serious concern that girls believe that STEM subjects are too hard to learn, so the aim of our events is to showcase the applicability of these skills through interactive workshops,” said Emma McGuigan, senior managing director for Accenture Technology in the UK and Ireland. “The speakers and workshops across the UK and Ireland aim to inspire girls and educate them about the amazing possibilities open to them.”
Pictured above: Transition year students from Our Lady’s Bower, Westmeath pictured at the Accenture Girls in STEM event, held at the Convention Centre Dublin, exploring a number of career options.