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A campaign led by The Sheffield College has been launched to bridge the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Sheffield College is part of a European Union project promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers in schools and colleges internationally.
Mind the Gap is aimed at girls aged 16 to 18 and their teachers. It seeks to encourage more young women to take STEM subjects and related careers.
The two-year project involves five organisations in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. The Sheffield College is the lead partner for the UK. For more information, visitmindthegapproject.eu and follow @MindTheGap_EU
The campaign involves the launch of new resources including careers and teaching material as well as a learning hub in the STEM sectors, which are facing a national skills shortage.
Research shows that although girls like studying STEM, many choose not to study those subjects further at A Level or beyond once they reach the age of 16. The UK has the lowest participation of women in the STEM workforce in Europe.
Heather Smith, Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “We are committed to training our students in the skills that employers need to improve their job and careers prospects, and to support regional economic growth.”
She added: “We are delighted to be part of an international campaign to raise awareness among girls, their parents and teachers about the exciting opportunities and rewards that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics offer.”
To address the regional skills gaps in engineering, the College has invested in new facilities to train students in the skills that employers need with the opening this academic year of the £6.8 million new Olive Grove campus on Olive Grove Road.
Ayesha Ahmed is one of the students who has benefited from the new facilities. Ayesha is studying for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at Level 3, and on successful completion of the course will be able to apply to university.
Ayesha said: “My ambition is to go on to study for a degree in engineering to get a career in the sector. It’s really important that young women are more aware of their options, the careers they can have in this sector, and the fact that you can get to university with vocational qualifications. I’ve found the course really enjoyable. I really like the practical work, and the new building and facilities.”
The Sheffield College provides full-time and part-time academic, vocational and professional courses to approximately 18,000 young people and adults every year. This academic year, the College launched The Sheffield College Guarantee, which applies to all new students, aged 16 to 18, starting full-time courses, lasting more than six months.
On successful completion of their course, the College is guaranteeing that students will have an apprenticeship or a job offer or an offer of a place on a higher education course at the College or university, or a progression route to one of them. Click here for more information about the College's April opening evenings for full-time courses starting in September.