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University pledges support for greater participation in STEM subjects

7 May 2014

Girl and robot

The University is proud to be supporting the UK Government's ambition for greater participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), especially amongst women.

Launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the 'Your Life' campaign aims to support a change in how women and girls are encouraged to consider technology and engineering careers and the subject choices or vocational pathways that lead to them.

Cardiff University is one of a number of educators, industry and government representatives to sign up to the 'Your Life' campaign. By doing so the University pledges its commitment to take action in a number of areas including increased engagement with young people and increasing the numbers of women working in these fields.

Professor Karen Holford, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering said: "I'm delighted that the University has pledged its commitment to this important and timely campaign.

"We're already doing a lot of good work in this area, including supporting initiatives such as the WISE campaign and the STEM ambassadors programme. We have recently established a Cardiff Women in Science Network which focuses on promoting sustained progression and gender equality. This is important because we aim to ensure that we create an environment that women want to work in and stay in. However, there's still more to be done and by committing to the 'Your Life' campaign we can continue to increase the number of people with skills in technology and engineering that will be essential to the UK's success as a global economy."

Speaking at a launch event at the Science Museum George Osborne said: "Backing growth in sectors such as science, tech and engineering are part of our long term plan to deliver economic security and sustainable growth.

"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."

Leading Cardiff's support for the 'Your Life' campaign are Wendy Sadler and Haley Gomez from the School of Physics & Astronomy. As part of the University's pledge the School, which is already doing a huge amount of work in this area, will aim to engage thousands of schoolgirls in hands on science practical workshops and events.

Earlier this year Wendy produced a report for the Science Advisory Council for Wales on STEM engagement and education enrichment activity in Wales. Speaking about the report's findings Wendy said:

"Our research suggests that Welsh students are falling behind their UK and European counterparts in terms of the number of students choosing STEM subjects at a higher level – particularly in the areas of physical sciences and engineering.

 "What this report sets out is a series of key recommendations for how we can improve in this area. It covers action that could be taken to improve the quality of science teaching in Wales; what can be done to enhance the enrichment and engagement activities for school students; and what issues surround the public attitudes to science and we can engage adults with STEM subjects.

"Today's announcement by George Osborne highlights that these issues are UK-wide. Important steps are being made and I now look forward to working with the Chief Scientific Adviser and members of the Science Advisory Council to make further progress in Wales."