With companies such as GSK, BAE Systems, Siemens and Kimberley Clark in our region, bringing through the next generation of highly skilled employees is vital in making Barrow and Furness thrive.
STEM jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) are there for the taking, but as these jobs are on the increase there’s a lack of women emerging to take them.
In a report from WISE, a group that champions placing women into STEM jobs it was discovered that in the UK just under 15% of jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths are filled by females; a statistic that places us as one of the worst countries in Europe for encouraging girls into the world of science.
Now this isn’t down to a lack of interest in these subjects at school, or poor performance in exams. In 2016 girls actually outperformed boys in GCSE science, with 71% achieving grades A-C, compared to the boys 62%.
So at some point their perception towards science changes and as a result their interest in Stem subjects decrease. This has brought about a new scheme that will be running at Furness Academy for the next 2 years.
Science Girls is a two year programme that will bring Furness Academy together with schools and colleges from countries as far away as Romania and Spain. Between them the schools in the programme will work together to find new ways to keep girls studying and interested in STEM subjects. This may be through more practical lessons and the way in which the children are taught (although the curriculum will not be changed – just the way it’s delivered)
Companies such as BAE depend on harvesting as much local talent as possible and increasing the amount of girls who pursue a career in science or engineering is essential.
BAE Systems head of strategy Jackie Arnold, said: "We are delighted to have been invited to contribute to such a worthwhile project. Our workforce has increased from 3,000 in 2003 to 8,000 now and we expect to continue to grow over the coming years.
"To meet this increased demand for talent, we have increased our Early Careers programme in a major way. We now have more than 1,000 young people in Early Careers, ranging from craft trades through technical higher apprenticeships to our graduate programme.
"The number of young women studying STEM subjects continues to increase and we are doing everything we can to encourage that."