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STEM in the Workplace

Crosby Soroptimist Steph Stephenson recently gave her fellow members a whistle-stop tour of STEM in her workplace.

The promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects to girls is ongoing. Take-up of STEM subjects at school is encouraging; but how does this translate into the world of work?

In the UK only 16% of engineers are female. Steph demonstrated how her employer (Jaguar Land Rover – JLR) is facing the challenge of enhancing women’s access to engineering.

Steph is HR Director for JLR (Halewood and Brazil). For International Women’s Day the year (8th March) Steph and the team set up workplace sessions both for employees and for young women in high schools local to the factory. Delegates looked at engineering – its scope, challenges and opportunities – in the modern world.

The company  is taking positive action to encourage job applications from women. Currently only 4% of the workforce on the shop floor are female – so there is a huge untapped resource of talent and potential.

The JLR work environment is changing to accommodate a greater female intake. Workwear and equipment, for example, need to be re-examined for safety and suitability. This reassessment improves the working environment for existing employees, fosters in-house innovation and encourages more women to consider engineering as a career option.

Pre-Covid, Crosby Soroptimists enabled several opportunities for girls in local high schools to hear from young women in STEM-related careers. Steph’s input, via JLR engineers, was considerable. Her fellow Crosby members were, therefore, delighted to hear more about her recent female-focused initiatives in the engineering industry.