Sure has introduced the first bursary of its kind in Guernsey for female students that are looking to study a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) related degree at university.
The bursary, which is now open for applications, has been developed by Sure to diversify the gender balance within the local telecoms and technology sectors and increase the island’s digitally skilled workforce.
One local student will be selected and will receive £1,500 a year to support their studies over a three-year degree. Additionally, the student will undertake six weeks’ paid work experience at Sure every year throughout the bursary as well as receiving ongoing support from female mentors in senior positions at Sure.
Lucienne De La Mare, HR Director at Sure, said: “This bursary aims to inspire female students to consider the great opportunities available through studying a STEM subject at university.
“We need more women in technology as, according to Women in Tech, female representation in the sector has stalled over the last decade. Within telecoms and technology women make up just 22% of the UK workforce, according to the 2018 Labour Force survey. At Sure 28% of employees are female but this includes only 5% of our engineering and technical staff. 33% of Sure’s senior leadership roles are held by women. Stereotypes and prejudice are sadly still hurdles that women have to overcome in the industry but our bursary, with paid work experience and ongoing support from female mentors at Sure to create an invaluable network of women working in tech, are just some of the ways that we are trying to break down these barriers.”
Out of the 338 women currently in higher education from Guernsey (degree level or higher) less than 1% are currently studying engineering or computer science.
Head of Digital at the Digital Greenhouse, Lucy Kirby, said: "There is a growing need to encourage more people into digital pathways in the island, particularly women.
"At the Digital Greenhouse we host and devise initiatives to help develop the island's digital skills and grow our digital economy. Sure's new bursary is a great opportunity to inspire and support women into pursuing a career in technology."
Sure says the new bursary complements its existing Sure Academy scheme which is a two-year paid employment programme offering school and college leavers the opportunity to gain practical training, an internationally recognised qualification and a high-quality experience that will lead to an exciting and challenging career.
WISE, a UK organisation which enables people in business, industry and education to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in STEM, promotes the business case for diversity in companies within the sector.
“We value diversity in our business and our goal with this bursary is to support and encourage women who want to pursue careers in the technology and engineering sectors,” said Ian Kelly, CEO of Sure.
“WISE has noted the importance of having an increased choice of skilled workers in an industry where there is a skills shortage and that diversity leads to increased innovation and creativity which is necessary to meet new challenges. They’ve found that organisations that lead the way on gender diversity often also lead on performance and even profitability.”
Students that would like to apply for the bursary must be planning to go to university in September 2019 and will need to send their CV and a cover letter to email@example.com by Thursday 28 February. Interviews will be undertaken in March 2019 and an offer to successful candidates will be made by the end of the month.
Pictured: Lucienne De la Mare.
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