STEM the flow away from these careers

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Pupils from Larbert High School joined girls from around the world in finding out more about careers in STEM industries.

In an attempt to break down barriers to women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), business management consultants Accenture held a series of events in the UK, US, France and India.

With events in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, over 2000 UK females aged 11-13 were involved in discovering that STEM provides jobs not just for the boys, but girls too.

The Larbert girls joined youngsters in Edinburgh to get hands-on experience in a blood bank, forensic lab and creating their own IoT (Internet of things) vehicle and programme coding to make it drive.

They also discovered more about career opportunities.

The event coincided with the publication of Accenture research showing girls are still grappling with stereotypes and negative perceptions of STEM subjects from an early stage in their schooling.

Lucy Murdoch, of Accenture and a STEM Ambassador, said: “The transition from primary to secondary school marks a decline in girls enjoying traditional STEM subjects. So it is incumbent on us to demonstrate the wider value, as well as the fulfilment and personal satisfaction that can be derived from pursuing STEM career opportunities.

“That’s why Accenture and Stemettes came together to create this event.

“Bringing together girls from schools in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Falkirk, it offered a first-hand look at the career options that open up through studying these subjects.”

With the survey showing that girls are more likely to view these topics as “academic” and “boring”, Lucy added: “In a word that is ever changing, we need to keep nurturing our future talent and leaders. That means for girls in particular, encouraging parents, teachers and employers of the future to introduce the fantastic STEM career choices that are there for the taking.”

The survey also revealed that over a third of young Scots, both male and female, are put off studying these subjects as they are unclear what careers they support.

Research also found that young people think more boys choose STEM subjects than girls because they match ‘male’ careers or jobs.