Express & Star

Time to address ‘women in STEM’ shortage

A leading Sandwell businesswoman says it is time to address the ‘women in STEM’ shortage .

Elaine Bruce

Elaine Bruce is the finance director of H&R ChemPharm (UK), one of the UK’s leading suppliers of speciality oil and wax products, working in a variety of sectors such as energy, telecommunication, construction and pharmaceutical.

Working within the manufacturing sector she works alongside colleagues from various STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.

It’s a momentous year, with 2018 marking 100 years since some women in Britain were first given the vote. So, it’s not surprising that it has been dubbed the ‘Year of the Woman.’

Women and the STEM disciplines is a big concern at the moment, with the Times Higher Education recently reporting that 30 years on from the launch of the Women into Science and Engineering (Wise) campaign, the sense of urgency and commitment is waning and statistics are either remaining stagnant or dropping one .

“These recent statistics are concerning and we need to address the situation,” said Elaine, one of the Sandwell Business Ambassadors.

“There is a misconception about the STEM subjects being solely for men which has, of course, existed for decades. It’s 2018, The Year of the Woman, so it’s time eradicate this mindset.

“Here in Sandwell there are a number of local businesses that offer fantastic apprenticeship schemes, such as voestalpine Metsec, a cold roll forming specialist.

“There are also a broad range of STEM courses and apprenticeships on offer at Sandwell College, for both school-leavers and adults, including engineering, life sciences and computing.

“These subjects open the door to varied and fulfilling careers, such as doctor, aerospace engineer, archaeologist, political scientist, robotics engineer and much more.

“We need to be asking: do enough young women know what STEM is and do they fully appreciate the options that are open to them? If the answers are no, we need to shout more about what is on offer to girls and women on their doorsteps, bridge the gap and make STEM more widely known and accessible.”

The Sandwell Business Ambassadors programme was launched with the aim of determining how to utilise the strengths of local strategic businesses by acting as advocates to support the borough in its ambitions to develop its business base. All of the Sandwell Business Ambassadors are passionate about communicating just what Sandwell can offer. As successful business people themselves, the Sandwell Business Ambassadors want to cultivate a thriving business base through supporting the borough from a number of different aspects.

For more information about the Sandwell Business Ambassadors follow them on social media ,, .