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STEM Aspire group of participants
As a School we are committed to encouraging and nurturing female talent and are a strong supporter of STEM initiatives. We are delighted to be playing such an active and important role in the STEMAspire initiative
Professor Ian Allison, Dean of the School of Engineering & Computing

The School of Engineering and Computing is playing a key role in an initiative by global technology group, Dell to bring more women into Scotland's IT industry.

UWS is one of three universities and colleges to be participating in the company's STEMAspire initiative, which was officially launched at an event on Wednesday 4th October 2017 at Dell’s City Park offices in Glasgow.

Female students from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses across UWS, Glasgow Caledonian University and City of Glasgow College met on Wednesday to kick off a year-long programme to keep more women on track to a career in IT.

Known as STEMAspire, the initiative will see nine students from UWS being paired with their own dedicated mentor who will help bridge the gap from higher education into the workforce.

The initiative comes as Scotland's IT sector struggles with an on-going skills shortage that many expect will be exacerbated by Britain's exit from the European Union. In addition, industry leaders say there are too few students coming through, particularly female ones.

The programme aims to assist women earlier in their studies, with figures showing that nearly a third of those women who begin a course in STEM subjects will either drop out or switch to another line of study before graduation.

We meet a lot of women who have decided to buck the trend and gain an education in a STEM topic and we've been increasingly concerned by the number of them who, during their education, decide to look at other careers.
Mark White, site leader for Dell in Scotland

Mark continues, "The gender imbalance in technology does get a little more equal every year, but this is being hampered when female graduates get some experience of working in our industry and decide it's not for them. The feedback we receive is all to often based around just how male-dominated the industry feels."

Dell employs about 550 people in Scotland, including 450 in Glasgow and a further 100 at its SecureWorks software facility in Edinburgh. About a quarter of its Scottish employees are women.

In addition to one-to-one mentoring, Dell will host four on-site events during the year for STEMAspire participants. The aim is to dispel the myth that IT is "just for boys", and highlight the successful role women play within the industry.