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Words&Pictures help pave the way for more women in stem careers

With only 13% of all STEM jobs in the UK occupied by women, encouraging young women to pursue STEM subjects and explore career options in this area is now an industry-wide issue.

There will be an estimated 2.74 million jobs opening up in the UK in engineering companies, and with 83% of young people without STEM work experience, 39% of recruiters predict that they will not be able to fill the flourishing industry.**

Leading communications specialists, Words&Pictures (W&P), are helping companies to combat this issue by raising awareness of the problem, and by promoting the benefits of both apprenticeships and careers in STEM. Getting parents, pupils and teachers directly involved in the communications campaign material is at the heart of every engagement we do.

Tackling gender imbalance is a big issue for STEM professions, as they can often be associated with masculine stereotypes therefore discouraging women’s interest in the field. During their research, W&P found some young women felt that in order to get them interested in STEM subjects, schools needed to make the focus more feminine, and to link activity to things that they relate to in everyday life. W&P have identified a real need for a solution that doesn’t necessarily make the subjects more overtly & lsquo;feminine’ overall, but instead makes subjects more accessible to women by showing them how interesting, important and rewarding a career in STEM can be.

Andy Holt, Creative Director at Words&Pictures, said: “Engineering and Technology graduates start on an average salary that is up to a fifth higher than all other graduates. Ranging from construction and civil engineers to design and chemical engineers, pretty much everything we come across on a daily basis touches some kind of engineering. It is a wide and wonderful area to get into.”

W&P’s research has highlighted that there is a severe lack of knowledge and guidance around the variety of jobs available and the routes into these roles. Young people are mainly exploring the jobs they already know about or feel comfortable with rather than delving into something new or following a passion that may seem out of reach. W&P hope to bridge the gap and provide young people with the knowledge to make the best decisions for their careers and to achieve their highest potential. People interviewed for the research also mentioned that more female role models would help to show young people how successful jobs in the growing industry can be, especially for women. Inevitably this will encourage higher aspirations and increase the uptake of STEM subjects in school.

Clearly adult influence plays a large part when a young person is making a decision about their career. Encouraging STEM subjects at an early age, both inside and outside of school, can really help when it comes to making the decision to choose a STEM career later in life. Companies are having major issues finding the right calibre of applicants for STEM roles and this could cause great problems in the future. So, instead of only targeting young people at apprentice level, the idea is to start targeting young children and parents in order to build passion for STEM throughout the school years, rather than trying to encourage those who have already started on their career path in education.


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