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The ‘Skirting Science and Technology’ day was held at the Lichfield campus of South Staffordshire College and the Staffordshire University on the 14th October 2015. The aim of the day was to raise awareness of career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) by providing a day of interactive workshops for local school girls, in years 9 to 11, to enable them to experience STEM opportunities. It is a well known fact that not enough women and girls are going into STEM careers - the UK falls way behind other European countries in the numbers of females who go into STEM-based careers; this can mean that there are often more opportunities for women and girls who choose to focus and do well in one or more of the STEM subjects.

 

The day was planned to raise awareness and aspirations of girls to consider careers in STEM. The workshops were designed to inspire and encourage the students to think about careers involving science that they may not have considered before. Specifically the objectives were: • To increase the number of girls taking science GCSEs/A levels in participating schools • To increase teachers’ awareness of the breadth of opportunities in STEM • To provide an enjoyable learning experience for all participants During the day the girls and teachers had the opportunity to attend 3 interactive workshops including: forensic science, computer game design and engineering.

 

The day provided the opportunity for the girls to meet people and organisations who are already engaged in STEM work. The companies represented and provided workshops on the day were: JCB, Perkins Engines, The Small Piece Trust, Telford and Wrekin Council, and Staffordshire University. In addition to the STEM careers information packs issued to the strudents the day gave them the chance to ask questions and learn about the work the work shop leaders do, how they got there, their qualifications and skills, how much they earn and what career opportunities there are. Over 80 students from high schools in the Lichfield and Cannock districts and as far away as Newcastle under Lyme attended the day. The feedback speaks for itself! “It was amazing” “Nothing could be better.”

 

“It was amazing” “I couldn’t fault any of it” When asked ‘How has taking part in Skirting Science changed your attitude towards science and science careers?’ 49 responded it’s made me aware of different career choices 11 owned up to thinking it wouldn’t be interesting/fun/exciting but it was 4 responded they didn’t realize how many women are involved in science career When asked ‘What did you learn about science and science careers a result of taking part in Skirting Science?’. 41 responded that they now know about the many different paths in science 10 responded they now know that ‘engineering jobs are also for females’ 3 responded they hadn’t realised that ‘Engineering is used in a lot of things’ 2 responded that they now ‘understand that different jobs require different skills and have thought about the sort of job they would be suited to’ 1 responded ‘you don’t have to be brilliant, do the subjects you like’