To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, three female students from across Capital City College Group (CCCG) shared their passion for studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and how employers can attract more women and girls into these careers.
More women are enrolling on STEM courses at university, yet they make up less than a third of the workforce in these careers in the UK.
According to GOV.UK the number of women accepted onto undergraduate courses in these subjects increased by 50.1 per cent from 2011 to 2020. However, in 2020 women only made up 29.4 per cent of the STEM workforce in the UK.
CCCG offers a wide range of academic and technical courses in STEM including A Levels, T Levels, BTEC diplomas and GCSEs, with female students making up 43.5 per cent of those taking these courses over the past four years.
Here’s what female students on our STEM courses had to say:
‘If there were more female role models in IT, that would inspire more girls to think it’s not just a man’s world’
“My dad runs his own IT company, so I’ve been surrounded by tech all my life. I’ve been interested in it since I was eight when I started reading about basic coding. I used to think IT was all about programming, but now I’ve found out there is so much more to it, such as databases, animation and social media.
“The course and teaching at CANDI has been really good and I’ve been able to pick things up easily. I have a couple of female teachers on the course. It’s great to have role models like them in class for someone like me looking to get into IT.
“I think tech companies still accept more men into IT jobs, it’s like they underestimate the skills women can bring to these careers. They need to start encouraging more women to get into roles so they can see that they are capable of doing the same jobs as men, and maybe even do them better.
“You often hear about people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg, but you never hear about the women in tech. If there were more female role models seen in IT, that would inspire more girls to think it’s not just a man’s world and something they could do as a career.”
Jaina Torres, IT student at CANDI
‘More female engineers giving talks in schools and colleges will mean girls see it as a valid career option’
“From a young age I was fascinated by how things work and liked physics and maths at school. When the pandemic hit, I started to get into technology and began thinking about my future career and saw there was a demand for more engineers.
“I absolutely loved the first year of my engineering course at WestKing and learnt so much. There are so many facets to engineering. I’ve learnt about coding and microcontrollers and have been able to apply knowledge I have gained on work experience to my course. I enjoy the challenge of creating innovative solutions to different problems. The teachers are really encouraging and are always available if I need any help. They want the best for all their students.
“Engineering is a good career for women. We need to show it is not just men who are capable of doing these careers but women as well, and it should no longer seen as a male-dominated career. It’s about changing peoples’ perceptions.
“You don’t tend to hear about women in engineering and more need to be done to make their voices heard. Having more female engineers giving talks in schools and colleges like they do at WestKing, will mean girls see it as a valid career option. More images of women doing these jobs would also inspire girls into engineering.”
Tianen Ho-Nyirabu, Engineering student at WestKing
‘Companies need to do more to promote internships and give more opportunities to women’
“Science was the first type of career that came to mind. I really enjoyed it at school and learning about chemistry, biology and physics. I’ve always had pets – a parrot, a dog and now a cat – and have applied to study veterinary nursing at university.
“The teachers at CONEL are really nice and present the subject well and give you videos to watch to help you understand. I like doing the practical experiments and following a method, doing some procedures, measurement and calculations and understanding why things happen and how you can change things. It’s a fascinating subject and there are so many pathways you can take.
“You see a lot of male doctors and scientists. Sometimes women are not considered for roles because they are seen as too sensitive and men are thought to be better at handling pressure. That needs to change if we are going to attract more women into science. If you have got the skills and ability there shouldn’t be anything to stop you.”
“Companies need to do more to promote internships and give more opportunities for women. They need to show more women doing these jobs and tell them more about the opportunities that are open to them. I know that would build my confidence and motivate me to do well at college if I saw someone to aspire to in the future.”
Alexandrina Pinzari, Applied Science student at CONEL