Smashing the stereotypes as GiSTCymru launches in the ValleysPublished on 22 July 2019
Technocamps was extremely proud to lead on an innovative new programme, designed to encourage young women towards STEM careers. Last week saw the official launch of GiST Cymru at the University of South Wales with over 130 girls from schools across South East Wales and the Valleys attending, to gain insight and understanding of the opportunities open to them in the field of Science and Technology. It is widely recognized that girls are under-represented in STEM Industries, and one of the aims of the European-funded Technocamps Programme is to try and redress the balance. GiST Cymru was led by the team at USW with support from our other academic partners: Swansea University, Bangor University, and Cardiff University.
The girls were inspired by a range of different experiences allowing them to link up with women working in STEM (with talks and mentoring) and providing them with the opportunity to get 'hands-on' with workshops and skills sessions. The day’s activities were launched with keynote speeches from Emma Tamplin from Chwarae Teg, and Wendy Sadler MBE from Science Made Simple who talked extensively about her own experiences in the field of Physics and Music.
Technocamps has been collaborating with a number of external partners to ensure that the GiST Cymru scheme is varied in terms of content and offers participants the chance to experience and explore STEM subjects in a fun and engaging way. Workshops included programming autonomous cars, building aircraft parts, wiring plugs, diffusing bombs using VR headsets, measuring dinosaur gaits, cybersecurity and cancer cell research. All the sessions were led by women who have established themselves in typically male-dominated careers. Follow up activities will take place throughout the next academic year and we will be working with schools to monitor the progress of all our GiST pioneers to see what impact the programme has had. We will also be launching other events which build on the newly-established GiSTCymru brand.
Feedback from all the pupils was extremely positive and all of them relished the chance to get hands-on with science and technology:
“I really enjoyed today's event. I enjoyed all of the activities, but my favourite activity was the VR. Thank you so much for the opportunity.”
Regional Coordinator for Technocamps, Laura Roberts, summed up the aims of the GiST programme:
“GiST Cymru aims to give girls across Wales that extra push they need into accessing STEM activities. GiST has given these pupils an opportunity to access hands-on STEM activities without the pressure of stigma that says: 'these subjects are for boys'. Take the boys out of the equation, and all the girls who attended the event thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get stuck in to activities that they may have stood back from in the past. I am so proud of the fact that all eight workshops and talks were led by strong, female STEM role models from across the sector, women working, living and breathing STEM in their everyday life.”
Jo Farag, Head of IT, Cardiff High School described the day as ‘amazing’ and said that her pupils came away from the event ‘really inspired’ to move on with STEM-based activities at school.
Danielle White from Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun thanked the team for an amazing event:
“Thank you for setting up an interesting and productive day. All the girls enjoyed themselves thoroughly and are keen to attend again.”
Even the facilitators were inspired. Hayley Pincott, an NHS STEM Ambassador, was excited to be part of the GiSTCymru event:
“It was such a great opportunity for me to showcase what we do as a diagnostic lab and make girls aware of Biomedical Science and Pathology and a potential career choice.”
Technocamps would like to thank all of our partners for their support at the GiSTCymru Launch and their continued work with us to push the STEM agenda forward in Wales.
We really couldn’t have done it without your help and look forward to working with you in the future!
The 14 students have completed a three-year programme in Applied Software Engineering with the University’s Computer Science department.
Technocamps Annual pan-Wales Programming Competition enables pupils to develop their problem solving, communication and teamwork skills.