Happy 10th birthday GirlsGetSET! Since we started, more than 8,000 girls have been inspired to consider a STEM career and some of them are now working for GE! To recognise this milestone we have some exciting things planned for our week of celebrations from 21-25 June, in partnership with the EDT (Engineering Development Trust). This is timed to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June.
We hope that young people aged 11-18, teachers and parents will join in with our three interactive webinars and view our online content. Visit our GirlsGetSET birthday website here.
Our aim is to inspire girls to consider the massive
opportunities open to them if they consider a career in SET (Science,
Engineering and Technology). We have
some great alumnae stories to share and we will also celebrate women’s
innovation, embrace diversity, and gain an insight into building a world that
works through careers in STEM.
Register via the links below for any of our three upcoming webinars:
Monday 21 June @11.30am: Celebrating Women in STEM
Hear the stories of technology changes driven by GE’s women and question them about their career journeys
Wednesday 23 June @11.30am: Where Are They Now?
Learn about our alumnae’s lives after GirlsGetSET and the wide variety of doors that a STEM qualification can open
Thursday 24 June @11.30am: Let's Talk About Inclusion & Diversity
Why diverse teams are the brightest teams, what’s changed in the last 10 years and what still needs to change
Have you ever been in an aeroplane? Or do you have a mobile phone? Well, without SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) these things would not exist! People with SET skills invent, develop and produce the things we use to make our lives easier, simplify tasks and provide us with entertainment! There is not a day that goes by where you will not touch something that involves SET, especially in today's world where there is new technology emerging all the time.
And yet, in the UK today 56% of businesses say they are continuing to experience skills shortages with engineering one of the sectors most aware of local skills shortfalls. (The Open University, 2020). The UK energy sector alone is expected to need 400,000 roles over the next 30 years in order to reach net zero carbon emissions (National Grid, 2020). To help address this issue, companies like GE need to attract a more diverse group of young people, particularly girls, through their doors. One way to do this is to excite young people about what it is really like to work in high-tech industries such as aviation, health or energy.
Female engineers from GE introduced GirlsGetSET in 2010 to try to redress the balance and we are delighted when we hear that there has been some real progress in the intervening decade. There has been a 31% increase in entries from women and girls to STEM A-levels between 2010 and 2019. In higher education, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK. Earlier this year, the media reported that more young people are studying STEM subjects at university than ever before. Acceptances into computer science courses have risen by almost 50%, from 20,420 in 2011 to 30,090 in 2020; and acceptances to engineering courses are up 21% from 25,995 in 2011 to 31,545 in 2020. But there is still a long way to go.
- 56% girls know 'almost nothing' or 'just a little' about engineering compared to 38% of boys (EBM, 2019)
- Boys are still far more likely than girls to study STEM A level subjects including physics (23% girls), maths (39% girls) and further maths (29% girls). Interestingly, girls were actually more likely than boys to pass biology, maths and physics, whereas boys performed better in chemistry and computer science (Engineering UK, 2020)
- Women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds remain severely underrepresented in engineering-related apprenticeships. In 2018 to 2019, women made up a low proportion of starts in engineering and manufacturing (8%) and ICT (20%).
We see the 10th birthday of GirlsGetSET as a real opportunity to attract more girls to STEM from all walks of life. We also run many other STEM outreach activities, from careers talks to hands-on projects, to attract as many young people as possible to be the innovators of today and tomorrow.
The GirlsGetSET scheme is aimed at girls aged 11 to 18 and consists of multiple SET-related activities run over an academic year. Our aim is to educate and demonstrate to students that careers within SET subjects are exciting and challenging, and enable them to be creative and to use their imagination.
GE volunteers (of both sexes) lead a multi-year programme, delivering a combination of projects, events and workshops. We focus not only on developing technical skills but also share GE learning materials on softer skills such as negotiating with and influencing others.
GirlsGetSET currently runs in schools local to GE sites in Amersham, Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Rugby. During this 10th birthday year we will be holding a week of virtual events and activities from 21-25 June 2021. We hope that at least 50 schools get involved in these and we will be working with the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) and our other partners to help make that happen!
A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.