Penicuik pupils set sights on future careers

P7 girls from Cuiken Primary, Penicuik, take part in a SmartSTEM event.
P7 girls from Cuiken Primary, Penicuik, take part in a SmartSTEM event.

A charitable organisation that aims to inspire girls to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) has marked International Women’s Day with an event in Edinburgh.

Around 130 girls from schools, including Cuiken Primary, Penicuik, gathered for the first SmartSTEMs event of the year.

The Paisley-based organisation recently announced a new partnership with EDF Energy which will help them reach more than 2,500 girls across Scotland over the next few months.

The girls, all from Primary 7, spent the day listening to speakers and getting involved in hands-on STEM activities.

Yasmeen Hussain from University of the West of Scotland, spoke to the girls and took them through her journey as a woman in STEM. Eight businesses exhibited at the event. Each business is encouraged to connect with five new schools with a view to providing speakers and ongoing support for STEM activities at the schools.

EDF Energy’s stand saw the girls sample a virtual-reality film that immersed them in the worlds of three successful women working STEM-related industries. Viewers were transported to EDF Energy’s offshore wind farm in Teesside with renewable energy research engineer Claire Canning, to the top of the Shard with structural engineer Roma Agrawal and to an East London shared workspace where computer coder Claire Mitchell introduced the girls to the community of coders that sit behind technology experienced daily.

SmartSTEMsevents target girls, aged 10 to 14, and aims to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.

EDF Energy’s Scottish Business Director, Paul Winkle, said: “At the moment only one in five people working in core STEM industries in Scotland is a woman. We are committed to changing that which is why I am delighted to be able to announce this new partnership on International Women’s Day. The SmartSTEMs ethos is very much in line with ours and I hope the events over the next few months will inspire hundreds more girls to consider pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.”

Kimberley Hughes from Cuiken Primary, added: “Today is a fantastic opportunity for the girls to see what careers there are with science based subjects. We already run a Code Club at school and the girls were really excited to come along today.”