Ahead of International Women’s Day, providers BT, Vodafone, O2, and Ericsson are joining forces for a pilot scheme that encourages schoolgirls to follow careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.
Step Into STEM kicked off last night with an event at the BT Tower, and will see 20 selected Year 12 pupils get special mentorship in STEM careers once a month until October. It also includes a week of work experience in the field in July.
Last month, Girls Talk London visited four London schools - Heathcote School in Waltham Forest, King Solomon Academy in Westminster, Our Lady's Convent School in Hackney, and St Michael's Catholic School in Southwark - to encourage schoolgirls to apply for the scheme.
Over 60 applied, and following review and interviews by Girls Talk London, 20 of them were selected.
Paula Constant, Openreach director of field, business and ethernet connections, and chair of BT's Women's Network, 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.
"This issue needs to be addressed and we're really excited about the role we can play in inspiring and supporting female school leavers who may be considering a career in STEM. There are numerous opportunities at BT for women who want to pursue a career in engineering, cyber security, or technology."
The scheme was timed to coincide with International Women's Day, which is recognised on Tuesday 8 March.