Encouraging STEM education as a part of early learning is an important stepping stone in helping children build a career path in STEM. STEM subjects help contribute toward innovation, creativity and improved quality of life. That’s why we here at Millennium Point are working hard to create opportunities that encourage the younger generation to get into the industry. Our STEM grant and scholarship help students and not-for-profit organisations bring projects to life and study university courses that truly boost their experiences within STEM.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and is a combined approach where all subjects are taught together and not separately. This helps equip students with the right skills to undertake a career within the industry.
Creating equal opportunities in STEM
Despite STEM subjects being prominent in a range of industries, a lot of them are unfortunately lacking a female presence. For example, only 25% of computing jobs and 15% of technology jobs are occupied by women.
To truly achieve successful benefits for society a diverse workforce should be created within the STEM industry. Currently, only 28% of the workforce is formed of women. Some factors causing the gender gap in STEM include:
- A lack of role models.
- Stereotypes surrounding women’s intellect.
- Cultures that tend to exclude women.
- Gender wage gaps.
- The STEM industry is still largely male-dominated.
- Imposter syndrome can put women off joining the workforce.
How can the gender gap be closed in the STEM industry?
It’s important that the gender gap is closed within STEM industries, especially within business, culture, government and legislation. Welcoming all genders and cultures within the industry will bring diverse experiences and help further innovation and creativity.
The following steps can help close the gender gap in STEM:
Prioritising attracting and retaining women
By attracting and retaining more women, the gender gap will start to narrow. To do this, more needs to be done to shout about how great STEM subjects, jobs and sectors are. Through improving marketing and advertising and getting more people talking about the industry, STEM benefits from a well-skilled, diverse workforce.
Break down stereotypes
Unfortunately, there are still lots of stereotypes surrounding women’s intellect and STEM being a male industry. As a result, a greater effort needs to be made to break down stereotypes suggesting that STEM subjects are better suited to boys. When this is achieved, girls should feel more confident to study and undertake careers in the industry.
Improve workplace cultures
In order to encourage more women to join the workforce, businesses must improve their workplace culture. By removing gender pay gaps, hostile work environments and creating better career progression for women, the gender gap will start to close.
The benefits of STEM
STEM education has a range of benefits including:
- Enhanced critical thinking – It helps children think strategically and learn how to problem solve.
- Improved cognitive skills – It improves reading, learning and thinking skills.
- It encourages creativity and curiosity – It boosts innovation and curious minds.
- Enhanced communication skills – It helps children deal with criticism, discuss ideas and actively listen.
- Improved collaborative skills – It helps people work well as a team.
Millennium Point’s STEM Grant
The Millennium Point Charitable Trust provides funding annually to not-for-profit organisations, schools, and colleges across the West Midlands Combined Authority area. Applicants can apply for up to £20,000 to fund their STEM-related project subject to meeting the eligibility criteria and demonstrating a measurable impact in STEM education and / or STEM career choice. We also welcome applications for smaller grants from £1,000.
Millennium Point’s STEM Scholarship
We’ve partnered with Birmingham City University to give a fully funded undergraduate degree at their Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.
To be eligible for our STEM scholarship you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You live in the West Midlands Combined Authority area. International applications won’t be accepted.
- You will be 18 by September 2024 and are looking to start an undergraduate degree at Birmingham City University in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment.
- Your chosen course is listed on our website under the ‘What Courses are Included’ section.
- Be available to participate in the second stage.