A new study of 100,000 sixth formers, conducted by Unifrog, has found that girls are taking more A levels in science, technology and mathematics but are still avoiding the subject at university. Contributor Regina Moran, VP, Head of Industry Consulting and Software Solutions, EMEIA BAS, Fujitsu.
Although it’s promising to see girls are taking more A levels in science, technology and mathematics, it’s clear more still needs to be done to encourage the uptake of STEM subjects/roles all the way through university and into the workplace. A shortage of enrolment in university subjects could be partly due to a lack of awareness of the opportunities that exist, and quite often the flawed perception that some groups, such as women, don’t belong in STEM professions.
From policymakers to public and private organisations, and even parents, we all have a responsibility to foster interest in STEM subjects among the next generation. This is especially important when considering that Fujitsu’s latest report – ‘Technology in a Transforming Britain’ – found that only a third (37 percent) of the public believe they themselves are fully prepared for technology changes and have the skills to take advantage of the opportunities ahead. As such, it’s important that organisations across the board join forces to encourage all students—girls as well as boys – to take up STEM subjects, helping them understand the positive impact this knowledge will have on their lives and future careers.
Studying computer science can lead to a career in design for example – or even technology marketing or management of a business division. That’s why the investment into computer science pledged during the Autumn Budget back in November highlights just how high technology now is on the national agenda.
As we fast progress towards a ‘digital first’ nation we need to ensure we are investing in both girls and boys at the very beginning of the digital journey and developing the right skills to support the future digital economy. It is no longer a nice-to-have; technology is absolutely core to the future of the UK economy – particularly as we move into the age of IoT and smart cities.