Boosting skills in technology and engineering will be essential if the UK is to truly thrive in the 21st century global economy. We need to make the most of all of our talents to give the businesses of tomorrow the workforce they need to compete in the global race. Although a similar number of girls and boys take Physics GCSE (a total of 150,000), by A-level this has dropped to just 25,000 boys and 7,000 girls, and fewer than 1 in 10 UK engineering professionals are female.
Only 20% of students in England study mathematics to age 18. In the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index the UK ranks 50th for Maths and Science education.
Here’s what Barclays is doing about it:
• Barclays commits to sponsoring a Chair in Maths or Physics for the next three years.
• Barclays commits to hosting a series of events in 2014/15 to promote careers in technology to girls and expanding our Women in Technology network:
• Barclays commits to hosting a 500-strong “Girls Allowed” conference this autumn targeted at girls aged 13-14.
• Barclays will promote careers in its global technology centre by offering at least two girls-only events to schools in Cheshire as part of our outreach to young people over the next 12 months.
• Barclays commits to continuing the promotion of its technical apprentices programme, with the aim of participating in events aimed at engaging young women in 2014/5. So far in 2014 we have attended over 10 events with an attendance of over 2000 people – we plan to continue engaging at this level.
• Barclays commits to expanding its successful Women in Technology group to provide networking opportunities, mentoring and guidance to women in technology roles throughout the bank. A key upcoming event is a Wiki Edit-a-thon in June, a global event that that looks to increase the numbers of female editors, as women currently make up under 10% of Wikipedia editors.
Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Barclays:
In 1958, Hilda Harding became the first female bank manager in the UK. She worked at Barclays. We have a long legacy of recognising the vital role that diversity and inclusion plays in our business. Across Barclays, we want to see more women represented in senior roles. Careers in technology is a keen area of focus. Radbroke in Cheshire is one of our global technology centres. Over 3,500 people work at the site in all aspects of technology and operations. This includes IT infrastructure and application development that supports innovations like PingIt, our mobile payment service.
In 2010, we introduced a technical apprenticeship programme at Radbroke. At the outset, we encountered a strong perception that it was a ‘job for the boys’, with very few applications from girls. We have since focused on making the programme accessible to young women. This year we will continue our outreach programme, with a focus on encouraging young women to apply. This includes speaking at careers events and in schools and universities, ensuring that we have female technicians representing our programmes; hosting initiatives to inspire young people and ensuring that schools apply diversity to the selection of pupils that attend (insisting on equal numbers of girls and boys); and ensuring our marketing material is inclusive – our event stands for apprentices and graduates centre on pictures of young women in technology roles. Beyond apprenticeships, our broader outreach programme showcases all manner of technology roles at Radbroke.
When we run events over the next 12 months, we will target them towards an equal number of boys and girls and will offer at least two girls-only events to schools in the region. In addition, we will host “Girls Allowed” – a one day conference designed to demonstrate that careers in technology are accessible to girls. Taking place in autumn, it will be an opportunity for 500 girls aged 13-14 years old to participate. The activities are designed to inspire girls to consider IT as a subject choice in the short term and technology as career choice in the long term. This includes a “Break the Bank” activity as an introduction to testing, a “Roboteers” activity as an introduction to coding, and a LifeSkills session on making informed career decisions.
In recent years, we have developed a Women in Technology group. The group’s objective is to encourage more women into technology roles which it pursues through a range of activities – networking opportunities, mentoring and guidance, access to role models, and strong female participation in recruitment. This year this group will expand across the whole bank, focusing on ensuring women in technology roles are supported throughout their careers with us. A key upcoming event is a Wiki Edit-a-thon in June, a global event that that looks to increase the numbers of female editors, as women currently make up under 10% of Wikipedia editors. A
cross Barclays, we are committed to supporting programmes that enhance the enterprise, employability and financial skills of five million disadvantaged young people by 2015. Within our employability programmes, we recognise the important role that skills such as literacy and numeracy can have on a young person’s potential. We therefore also commit to sponsoring a Chair position for the next 3 years to support the Maths and Physics Chair Programme. In doing so, we hope to make a contribution towards greater participation in these subjects as part of the wider focus on STEM.
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