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 People Like Me initiative aims to help girls understand the extent of careers open to them in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM), by introducing them to role models who are working in these fields.
Across the STEM industries, it’s acknowledged that more needs to be done to inspire girls to study these subjects at school and beyond.
According to research by the University of Roehampton in London, 30,000 fewer girls are studying key stage four level computing subjects now, compared to figures four years ago.
Movements across the UK are working to change this. The WISE Campaign, which concentrates on achieving gender balance across STEM industries, is launching a new training platform to make it easier for companies to encourage girls into choosing STEM careers.
The People Like Me programme is part of WISE’s aim to empower girls to study things such as science and maths at school by introducing them to role models who are working in these fields. It focuses on girls aged 12 to 14, hosting workshops in schools at the age when girls are making subject choices for their GCSEs.
Since the programme launched in 2015, businesses have delivered sessions to over 6,500 girls around the country.
Evaluation by the Open University has found that after these sessions, 57% of girls reported that they were now more interested in studying science and maths at school, showing that the programme is making a difference.
WISE’s CEO, Helen Wollaston said: “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.”
Sarah Atkinson, Vice President, Communications, CA Technologies, which co-founded the initiative added: “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.”
The campaign has developed a new online training platform. The platform will provide training materials for businesses so they can reach out to local schools to deliver training to teachers and reach teenage girls considering their future career options.