Government backs scheme to get more women to pursue tech careers

Education and skills blackboard

A government-backed campaign to encourage more school-age girls to pursue careers in engineering and technology has been launched this morning at the Science Museum.

The Your Life campaign wants the majority of young people to study maths until they are 18-years-old by 2020, and for the number of students pursuing A-Levels in physics and maths to rise significantly.

It also wants 30 per cent of undergraduate engineering and technology degrees to be taken by women by 2013, and for more women overall to enter the engineering and technology field.

Backing growth in sectors such as science, tech and engineering are part of our long-term plan to deliver economic security and sustainable growth for a more resilient economy.

At the moment, approximately 15 per cent of engineering and technology degrees are studied by women.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Edwina Dunn, co-founder of customer data analysis firm Dunnhumby, who shed some light on the importance of science, maths and technology skills to the business community.

"For people choosing their path in life, they represent enormous opportunity to pioneer technologies of the future, to innovate and to make the most of their potential, talent and creativity," said Dunn.

"This is about more than career paths but, your choice of A-Levels is a great place to start. And that's why I'm so pleased to be involved in the important Your Life campaign."

The plans have already won the backing of the Government, with several MPs including the Chancellor George Osborne attending the event.

One hundred and seventy businesses including Google, Microsoft, Ford, BP, Samsung and Balfour Beatty have also pledged to support the initiative by offering up 2,000 jobs, apprenticeship and work experience opportunities.

Meanwhile, the likes of Barclays, Tata Consulting, National Grid and GlaxoSmithKline have thrown their weight behind another aspect of the scheme, which aims to encourage more post-doctoral graduates to become science and maths teachers.

Osborne said the campaign and its aims have important implications for the UK's economic future.

"Backing growth in sectors such as science, tech and engineering are part of our long-term plan to deliver economic security and sustainable growth for a more resilient economy," he said.

"This campaign, which brings together some of Britain's best businesses, institutions and government, will help inspire young people into jobs in these exciting sectors that are essential to our economic prosperity."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.