Schoolgirls explore their potential in STEM


In acknowledgement of International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Saturday 11th February, a team of staff from University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Swansea Waterfront campus put on a female-focused day of activities for school girls, to provide hands-on experience and exposure to courses and careers in IT and STEM.

Olchfa schoolgirls at Girls into IT february 2023

45 pupils aged 12-18 attended from Ysgol Bae Baglan and Olchfa Comprehensive School, and were immersed in activities that included building miniature race cars, experimenting with cybersecurity and ethical hacking, designing Games and driving the University’s state of the art race car simulator. The aim for all the day’s activities and lectures was to promote women in STEM and give the schoolgirls examples of successful female role models to look up to.

In the afternoon some of the girls, alongside current UWTSD students and staff, heard from one such role model, Rachel Hogg, an alumnus of UWTSD who is now Global Product Manager for Electric Range Rover at Jaguar Land Rover.

Addressing the girls, Rachel said: “I would say to any girls or women in engineering or STEM subjects: your voice, your perspective, your background and your skills are really valuable in the working environment. Ultimately, Jaguar Land Rover are making products to be sold to the world’s population, so a female perspective is incredibly important.

“My advice, and the advice from senior female leaders in the business, is just to be yourself. Bring your whole self to work every day, and you should speak up and be proud to put out your perspectives. If you are good at what you do and are motivated to succeed, you will, and you can.”

Aiming to empower, equip and support girls to discover their potential in STEM and IT career pathways, this event also formed part of the University’s current Widening Access 'Girls into IT' series which has already given over 200 schoolgirls the opportunity to experience the University’s exceptional facilities and hear from expert speakers.

Rachel Hogg Alumni speaker lecturer at Girls into IT February 2023

The initiative was set up in response to research by the WISE Campaign which highlighted that in 2021, female IT professionals made up only 21% of the UK’s total Technology workforce, and female Engineers only 12.5%, showing the need for additional encouragement of women and girls into these fields.

The University’s Widening Access and Student Recruitment teams work in conjunction to provide activities for school- and college-age children across Wales, to help them realise their full potential and make informed decisions about their future. Samantha Bowen, Widening Access Manager, says: "This exciting series of events provides young people with role models and raises awareness of a wide range of STEM opportunities at a key point in their educational journey.

“The number of attendees now considering a career in STEM when they had not previously, and being excited by the prospect of such a career, shows the real need for days like this. These events reinforce the message that females are vital for future technology and innovation solutions and can be highly successful in STEM – we want to see more girls transition from school to STEM courses and jobs.”

Joanne Cooper, Leader of Innovation, Digital Learning and Business at Ysgol Bae Baglan said: “The day allowed pupils to learn and understand all aspects of STEM, from careers in construction, cyber security, environmental science and the gaming industry. All pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and are excited to pursue STEM careers in future. Ysgol Bae Baglan would like to thank UWTSD for this amazing opportunity and would highly recommend this event.”

Physics Teacher Danielle Blythe from Olchfa School, adds: “Immersing our year 12s in such an exciting STEM environment surrounded by positive role models was a great way to celebrate International Women and Girls in STEM Day.

“The girls returned to school filled with enthusiasm for the prospect of pursuing STEM studies having had the opportunity to develop their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Thank you so much for the hard work and organisation that went into the day. We wholeheartedly recommend this experience to other schools.”

Sophie Williams, a pupil at Ysgol Bae Baglan said: “It was an amazing experience that allowed me to think about my future in game design and programming. I learnt so much about careers in STEM and how my skills could be used to become successful in this area. The facilities in the University were amazing and I would really like to attend there when I’m older.”

Schoolgirls from Ysgol Bae Baglan at Girls into IT event February 2023

Further Information

Ella Staden

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Press and Media Officer

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