Encouraging girls to consider and pursue a STEM career is critical if our engineers and innovators of the future are to undertake the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Miss STEM Europe is a new project initiative delivered by South West College (SWC) and the Leuven Institute (funded by Erasmus+), which will see thirty young females help shape future policies and programmes to encourage more females into STEM education and careers.
Despite girls showing a passion for technology and creativity at a very young age, girls still remain underrepresented with gender stereotypes in both STEM study and the workplace evident today.
Speaking about the recent launch of the Miss STEM Europe project, Louise Girvan, SWC said:
“The UK is facing a looming skills crisis with a predicted shortage of qualified STEM workers who are needed to fulfil future jobs requiring technology and digital expertise.
“Our aim is to reverse the trend of gender imbalance by igniting a passion for science, technology, engineering and maths among girls. We also want to promote the exciting and diverse opportunities presented through both STEM related study and careers.”
The Miss STEM Europe project team comprises of young female professionals following STEM careers, young female students studying STEM courses at SWC and year 10 pupils from local post-primary schools.
Through a series of workshops, strategic planning and political lobbying, the team will present their vision for young females pursuing careers in STEM areas on a number of high profile platforms including, the Mid Ulster Council, Stormont and the European Parliament in Brussels.
In recent years county Tyrone has earned a global reputation as a hotbed for excellence and innovation in the design and manufacture of solutions. The county has also positioned a cluster of mid-Ulster engineering firms among the world’s elite providers of materials handling equipment.
In 2015, SWC collaborated with local engineering firms to establish the ‘Get Engineering’ initiative, which is a forum for those wishing to explore career prospects through apprenticeship programmes for the booming engineering industry.
One of the employers supporting the College’s endeavours to promote engineering and attracting, developing and nurturing new talent for the industry is the founder of Dungannon-based Mallaghan Engineering, Mr Niall Mallaghan, who added:
“I am delighted to be supporting the Miss STEM Europe project. At present only approximately one in ten STEM managers is female and although the number of female professional engineers has doubled in recent years, the UK still has the lowest percentage in Europe. I believe that given time, we have the talent and resources to change this landscape.”
For more information on the Miss STEM Europe project, please contact Louise Girvan at the STEM Centre, South West College, Circular Road, Dungannon, tel 0845 603 1881 ext 3675 or email email@example.com.