Helping break down barriers for women

More young girls are being urged to consider science-themed subjects to help guide potential career paths.

North Tyneside Council is helping break down barriers and encouraging girls and young women to take an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

Research has shown that many girls do not choose to study science subjects and rule out potential careers seeing it as mostly a male-dominated industry.

But the authority is hoping to change the trend as there is a predicted growth in technical, manufacturing, engineering and digital sectors.

The council set up the Children, Education and Skills Sub-committee and asked its members to look at what needs to be done to attract more girls and young women to STEM subjects.

As part of their study the group visited schools and met representatives from women’s networks and TyneMet College where they viewed the facilities and spoke to female students studying STEM subjects.

In their report the group stressed there are already excellent facilities in the borough at Marden High School and Norham High School and these will be added to by the STEM Innovation Centre being established by TyneMet College at the former Skills and Enterprise Centre on Embleton Road.

They said having top facilities could be a great motivating factor for young people and will allow them to have the opportunity to use the best equipment.

The group also requested that the council’s Head of Children, Young People and Learning ask all schools in the borough to consider holding girl only science, maths and IT clubs or advertise the girls only clubs that are held elsewhere.

Other recommendations include: asking schools to give responsibility for promoting STEM subjects to a female member of staff or governor; organising events for teachers and reviewing information to parents and children on the opportunities and careers for anyone with STEM qualifications.

The extensive report was received by the authority and all recommendations will be considered and a response prepared for a further meeting.