BT, Voda and O2 launch scheme to get more women into tech careers


Research from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) revealed that only nine per cent of engineers in the UK are female

BT, O2, Vodafone and Ericsson have partnered to launch a new scheme designed to encourage schoolgirls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The new programme, called ‘Step into STEM,’ sees the four work with Girls Talk London, who offers young women advice and help about getting into senior business roles.

Girls Talk London selected 20 year 12 students last month from four schools in London. The schools are King Solomon Academy, St Michael’s Catholic School, Heathcote School and Our Lady’s Convent School.

The chosen few have been matched with a mentor from the four companies. They each receive one monthly session until October where they learn about their chosen roles and get advice on how to enter them. A week’s work experience at one of the companies in July will also be offered.

Step into STEM is currently a pilot, but each business hopes to roll it out across the UK in future. It was celebrated at an event last night (March 4) at the BT Tower ahead of International Women’s Day next week (March 8). International Women’s Day is an annual event held to celebrate the achievements of women and close the gender gap.

BT director of field, business and ethernet connections at Openreach Paula Constant said: “This scheme could make a real difference in encouraging girls to apply for jobs that require STEM skills. Research shows that even though girls study the relevant subjects in school, only a minority go on to pursue careers in this area.

O2 chief operating officer Derek McManus said: “Our research revealed that many girls haven’t yet considered a career in tech or STEM and it’s an issue which is becoming deeply engrained from a young age. Far too many young people maintain the belief that these types of careers are most suited to men. Clearly there are some outdated myths that need busting.