Bringing tech to life to encourage more girls to Step into STEM
By Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director, Vodafone UK
Having built my career in the tech industry over the past two decades, I know first-hand that it’s a great sector for women to work in. Indeed, a significant proportion of UK women working in the industry have a positive view of career opportunities in tech, according to a recent survey. Almost half (48%) said that tech jobs give them the freedom to be innovative, and three in five said being female is a positive factor in pursuing a tech career.
However, currently women make up only about 14% of all jobs in STEM. So there is a clear need to encourage more young girls to pursue a career in this area. At Vodafone UK, we are proud to support Step into STEM, a 7-month programme run by Girls Talk London that provides mentoring and work experience for girls studying STEM subjects at sixth form.
Bringing tech to life: Tech Summit 2018
Around 40 girls joined us for a two-day Tech Summit in London, organised by the Step into STEM programme. The girls practiced coding with Pepper, the humanoid robot, experimented with virtual reality headsets and learned all about our Internet of Things (IoT) products and services. They also heard from Vodafone tech experts like Laura Moore Hay, Head of Infotainment at Vodafone Group Services, who gave a talk on working in the sector.
To close the day, Vodafone mentors held one-on-one meetings with those they mentor, to discuss topics like skills to boost employability in STEM and support with academic studies.
Helping more girls Step into STEM
Mentoring programmes like Step into STEM play an essential role in helping young girls learn about the many benefits of a STEM career. My previous blog featured an interview with Taiwo Lawal, who was mentored by Inna Kolosova, Regional IoT Expansion Manager at Vodafone. I am delighted to report that in September, Taiwo started an Engineering degree at Oxford University. I’m very proud of our Step into STEM programme, and look forward to seeing even more girls go on to pursue a career in STEM.
[i] Of those who have disclosed their household annual income