24 March 2021
Peter Aldous highlights importance of career-long pathway to encourage women and girls into STEM careers

Peter Aldous welcomes initiatives to encourage women and girls into STEM careers but highlights the need for a career-long pathway to enable them to realise their full potential including fair recruitment processes, alumni networks and retention programmes.

Female Participation in STEM

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)

What steps she is taking to promote female participation in STEM. (914007)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Vicky Ford)

Science and technology will drive our country’s future and women are brilliant at STEM— science, technology, engineering and maths. There are now more girls taking chemistry and biology at A-level than boys, but we need to continue to make progress in other subjects. Initiatives such as T-levels provide an excellent opportunity for girls interested in STEM.

Peter Aldous [V] 

I welcome the Minister’s reply. Participation in STEM can lead to exciting career opportunities in such sectors as renewable energy, but to ensure that young women have every opportunity to pursue their ambitions there must be a career-long pathway that enables them to realise their full potential. That should include fair recruitment processes, the promotion of alumni networks that ensure skill retention and the development of retention programmes. I would welcome an assurance from my hon. Friend that she is liaising with her ministerial colleagues to put in place a route map that includes such staging posts.

Vicky Ford 

It is really positive that we have more women studying to become doctors and that four out of five students studying to become vets are women, but it is less good that only one in five engineering students are women. Initiatives such as Tomorrow’s Engineers Code, which was launched by EngineeringUK, is bringing together Government, business and academia to increase the number and diversity of young people pursuing engineering codes. As one of many Government organisations who have signed the code, we have pledged to work with the engineering community to improve quality targeting, inclusivity and reach of engineering activities.