New Government-backed initiative backs women entering STEM based careers
On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science the Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, has launched a new initiative to help people back into science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) based careers.
- Women facing work barriers due to caring to be helped back to careers.
- Minister for Women and Equalities invests in pilot to get returners into STEM.
- 43% of STEM vacancies are hard to fill; women make up 29.4% of the STEM workforce; 75,000 STEM returners want to get back to work.
More women will be helped back into the workplace following the launch of a Government-backed training programme.
The scheme – backed by £150,000 of Government funding – will be run by Women Returners and STEM Returners and will target those who have taken lengthy career breaks to care for others, giving them the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
Minister for Women and Equalities, and Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch MP, said: “I learned how to code at the age of seven and trained as an engineer, so I know the importance of science to our economy.
“In the last decade we have seen more girls studying STEM subjects at school and university, but we know that too many women later drop out of those careers because they need to care for children or elderly relatives.
“We are investing in returners so we can plug the STEM gap, increase workplace equality, and boost our economy. That’s good business sense.”
Between 2009 and 2020 there was an almost 30% increase in girls starting STEM A-levels in England, and between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted to full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK. But in 2020 women only made up 29.4% of the STEM workforce in the UK.
According to the UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey 2013, 43% of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) vacancies are hard to fill. But there were approximately 75,000 people who were economically inactive due to caring responsibilities, had not worked for at least 12 months, had a STEM occupation immediately before their career break, and would like to return to work in the future. The majority of these potential returners are women.
Women Returners, experts in return to work consulting, coaching, and networking, will support parents and carers back into the workplace through personalised employability support, sector-specific refresh training, and work opportunities.
The STEM ReCharge pilot will provide support and training to technology and engineering returners in the Midlands and the North of England. It will also provide support and training for STEM employers on supportive returner hiring and inclusive recruitment practices.
Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Government Equality Hub in increasing the opportunity for Returners in STEM and lowering the barriers they face when they try to resume their careers.
“This programme will allow us to continue our mission to help create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable STEM sector. We are especially delighted to be collaborating on this project with Women Returners, as working together we can achieve more.”