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Supporting women in science

Published: 10 Feb 2016 00:01

Funding for undergraduate work placements confirmed.

Female undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects will continue to benefit from the CareerWISE programme in the coming year.

Funding of £79,000 for work placements for female undergraduates was confirmed by Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabelle Ewing as she chairs a special meeting to look at the barriers to gender equality in STEM professions.

Ms Ewing will lead the meeting of the Strategic Group on Women and Work as it meets at the University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre, which will also be attended by Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

In 2015, 30 students completed a placement giving them real life work experience and allowed them to build up important links with the STEM sector to help them realise their career aspirations.

Ms Ewing said:

"We are seeing progress in the promotion of STEM careers to girls and women and the various routes into them through Modern Apprenticeships, college and university courses but we want to do more. These are still areas that see higher than average rates of gender segregation that reinforces stereotypes and tackling it will help us reduce the gender pay gap and see more women reach the higher levels in these professions.

"This meeting of the Strategic Group on Women and Work is specifically to discuss what can be done to remove the real and perceived barriers that face women going into these specialisms. I am grateful to the invited speakers and members of the group for giving their time and sharing their career experiences."

Invited speakers include Professor Lesley Yellowlees of the University of Edinburgh, Nicola Swan, Gender Expert at Skills Development Scotland and Oonagh Werngren, Operations Direction at Oil and Gas UK.

Justine Botha, who undertook a CareerWISE student placement in 2014 will also share her experiences with the group.

Ms Botha said:

"Through the CareerWISE scheme I got a fantastic placement at one of the top engineering companies. I gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge and with the help of CareerWISE interactive workshops and the contacts that I made I was offered a full time graduate job with the company I did my placement with.

"Overall it was a fantastic experience and it helped me enormously in giving me the confidence and experience to obtain a job after graduation."

Notes to editors

CareerWISE, which is delivered by Equate Scotland at Edinburgh Napier University, was created in 2013 to encourage and support young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector

More information can be found about Equate Scotland here.