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Women in STEM

Educate, encourage and empower Inspiring Ireland’s next generation of women in STEM PHOTO: UNSPLASH

Be More with Science and Engineering degrees from Maynooth University

www.maynoothuniversity.ie


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IN THIS ISSUE

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Connecting Women in Technology: Supporting the development of females in the industry

How 11 year old Laura Bradley-Grattan hacked a Wii remote to fly her hand built wooden hovercraft

Women in Technology and Science (WITS): Read more from the experts

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A government push for more women in STEM

STEM graduates can find solutions to our most pressing global problems, but equal female representation is needed for innovation to continue. Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD speaks about increasing female participation in STEM

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lobally, we are facing multiple challenges; sustainable energy and food, climate change, access to clean water and better healthcare for all. Many of the solutions will be found within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), yet we are still struggling to fill STEM jobs. In Ireland, approximately 26 per cent of our graduates come from STEM. While this is higher than in the US, Japan and the UK, women make up just a quarter of those employed in STEM roles here. This gender imbalance represents not just a loss of productivity to the economy, given women make up almost 50 per cent of the workforce in Ireland, but also a loss to our potential innovation Follow us

and capabilities as a nation. Increased economic participation of women is a core objective of Government policy. Innovation 2020, the government’s strategy for Ireland to become a Global Innovation Leader, sets out that to achieve excellence, talent and impact in research and development, we need equal female participation. Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) ‘Agenda 2020’ target to have 25 per cent of its research grant-award portfolio held by female researchers was reached in 2016. This target has been increased to 30 per cent for 2020. The SFI Gender Strategy sets out a roadmap to reach this and includes support mechanisms to help women stay in research over the duration of their careers.

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Frances Fitzgerald TD Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation

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The extension of the Athena Swan Awards in Ireland, as supported by Irish Higher Education Institutes and research funding agencies, further achieves an internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ for gender equality. We must continue to inspire female students from primary school, through to PhD and post-doc level to make them aware of the attractive and diverse careers available within the STEM sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, ICT and agri-food. We need them to help us build and shape the future of our research-driven economy, to bring their innovation, their creativity, and their talent to the fore. SFI’s education and public engagement initiatives aim to @MediaplanetUK

increase the participation of girls in STEM-related activities. SFI’s Smart Futures programme, which promotes STEM careers in Ireland to young people, has over 200 supporting partners across industry and academia. It partners with groups like iWish and Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) to provide students with opportunities to interact with female STEM professionals and gain career insights. As Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, I believe in the ability of STEM to effect positive change in the world and to be a key driver of Ireland’s economy. In committing to funding the very best in science education and public outreach in Ireland, we want to make STEM accessible to all. Please Recycle

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Inspiring female engineers By Shauna McCrudden

To address the gender divide in engineering, we need to promote and encourage engineering as an exciting and diverse career choice for all young people

“We run a programme with volunteer engineers around the country who give up their time to go out and meet students in person, in the classroom or at career events. Of our volunteers, 30 per cent are women, which is a higher percentage than the number of women working in engineering! This shows that women want to share their love of engineering with young girls and give them an idea of the career they could have.” Leatham says that a ‘person to person interaction’ is influential for young people. “Female engineers talking about their education and career, and what kind of people they are, sends a powerful message to young girls. Meeting women in engineering with successful and rewarding careers lets girls see that

they could have that too.”

Getting involved The STEPS programme is the only national, engineering-focused, outreach programme in Ireland and more and more young people are joining in on the events, with some 73,000 young people engaging with engineers through STEPS in 2016. The programme aims to generate more interest in STEM (science technology engineering and maths) and create more public awareness for young girls in particular. “We get great feedback from our participants,” says Leatham. “The students have been incredibly positive about meeting the engineers and hearing their individual stories. The feedback we get is that the students – and teachers – learn things about engineering they didn’t know before and are more open to the possibility of an engineering career.” STEPS’ Engineering Your Future programme, which introduces Transition Year students to handson engineering, allows students to

said they would recommend it to their friends.”

Sylvia Leatham Team Leader, Ssteps programme, Engineers Ireland

experience the many different types of engineering so they don’t just have an image of engineers as men in hardhats. “The students get an opportunity to get really involved in engineering, with make-and-do activities, company visits, meeting diverse engineers and having fun. This hands-on interaction means young people get to see the world they could step into. We’re delighted that 80 per cent of those taking part said the programme helped them make college choices, while 97 per cent

Saving the world Leatham says the world desperately needs more engineers, and the message we need to give girls is that they can help to solve the global issues of today and tomorrow. “Engineering is a really exciting and creative profession to get involved in. You have so many opportunities to go down different career paths. “Being able to make a difference in the world is a hugely appealing message for girls. It is engineers who will figure out how we address huge global problems, such as the question of clean energy, and engineering offers a chance to create a positive change in society. Since many young girls want to make a positive change in the world, we try to let them see that engineering can be the way to do that.” Making smart moves STEPS works in strategic partnership with Science Foundation

Ireland (SFI) on Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry-education programme promoting STEM careers to students in Ireland. The programme is funded by SFI, along with the Department of Education and a number of engineering companies. “The key to any successful STEM engagement programme is working with partners,” says Leatham. “You have a better chance of making an impact. “We honestly couldn’t run the programme without our volunteer engineers and supporting organisations. We arrange for young people to have hands-on experiences of the exciting world of engineering and get an insight into possible careers – we couldn’t do any of that without the support of the engineering industry and our partner organisations.”

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Engineer your future at NUI Galway If you are creative and love to solve problems, then studying engineering could be for you, says Ciara Finan, who’s just finished her degree in Engineering at NUI Galway By Clodagh Dooley

Ciara Finan did not always know that she wanted to be an engineer. But she loved mathematics, problem-solving and coding – “the idea that you could create a program that would do stuff for you!” – and so decided to study engineering at NUI Galway. She hasn’t looked back. Finan has just finished her final year in Electronic and Computer Engineering, and in September will take up a job as a software engineer. “NUI Galway is a great place for developing your skills, and especially your mindset. Even the architecture of the engineering building itself is designed to get you thinking. “I feel confident now that I can go and start that job, and I’m not going to be too hesitant, because I’ve got this good foundation.”

The Geec Finan got the chance to work on some hands-on projects from her

earliest days at NUI Galway. But her final-year project stands out most of all. Finan was involved in ‘the Geec’ (Galway energy-efficient Car), an eco-car designed and constructed by NUI Galway students, from a range of engineering disciplines. It is the most energy-efficient car ever built in Ireland. Dr Nathan Quinlan, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway, has commented on the project: “Students have to turn their textbook knowledge into a tangible high-performance machine. It’s tough – sometimes the design doesn’t work the first time, and then it’s back to the drawing board or the computer.”

World-class Every year since 2015, a version of the Geec has competed in Shell Eco-marathon Europe, a race where the winner is the car that

completes a 16km circuit using the least amount of energy. In 2017, Finan was the data acquisition leader on the project. “I had sensors across the car; I had to organise them and calibrate them, then take their data and process it. I made an app to display the data to the driver.” In May in London, the Geec 3.0 finished 13th out of 41 competitors in the prototype battery-electric class. “We nearly doubled our score from last year!” says Finan. Quinlan comments: “What they proved in London was that young engineers from Galway really can be world-class.”

PHOTOCREDIT: NUI GALWAY

NUI Galway student, Laura Drudy, taking part in the GEEC project

Women at NUI Galway NUI Galway has a long tradition of training female graduates, who have gone on to be very successful in their engineering careers. The new engineering building is named in recognition of Alice Perry, the

first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn an engineering degree. The Maire Brazil scholarship is awarded to the highest achieving female student in Civil Engineering. Finan says she would “absolutely” recommend studying engineering to young women. “You’re learning to understand problems, to fix problems and create things. With engineering, you can’t go wrong – because there are so many applications.”

Read more on NUIgalway.ie


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What can you do with a maths degree? We need to start thinking differently about maths education. Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Lecturer and Assistant Professor in Mathematics Education, speaks about the misconceptions and unlimited career opportunities in mathematics By Clodagh Dooley

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rom algebra to trigonometry and calculus to geometry, maths isn’t always thought of by many as the most exhilarating of subjects. However, Ní Shúilleabháin begs to differ. “While I enjoyed maths and loved studying it in school, I never thought I was a whiz at it. When I didn’t get the answers, it could be frustrating. But I began to believe in my own ability when I started studying with a group of other students before the Leaving Cert. “I realised that there’s more than one way to go about answering a maths question, and the fun is actually in trying to find different ways of explaining the same thing. It’s a great sense of satisfaction when you arrive at an answer.” In a way, trying to figure out a problem in maths is like trying to figure out any problem in life – there isn’t always going to be one quick and easy answer. But what many people might not realise, is that the two go hand-in-hand. Maths is needed to solve many of society’s issues. “It’s not always indicative that maths is applicable to the real world,” says Ní Shúilleabháin. “I think it’s difficult for young people to envision what they can do with a maths degree, and we should let them know that it’s not just about sitting in a room with a whiteboard all day.”

Applying yourself Ní Shúilleabháin, who has a degree in theoretical physics and now teaches maths and mathematics education to undergraduate

students, says that maths equips people with many skills which can impact the world. “There’s a real appetite for graduates who are competent and confident in maths, who have wellversed mathematical problem-solving skills, who enjoy analysing data, building models of systems, and who can put forward predictions of what might happen in the future.” There is a growing need for new quantitative skills and reasoning in a wide variety of careers – not just STEM careers. These include jobs within industries in Ireland which are experiencing the most growth at present, such as accountancy, financing, IT, construction and pharma, as well as in other areas such as sport, sales and agriculture. Workers across such industries need to know how to effectively deal with data, discover trends and patterns in huge amounts of information (‘big data’), use computers to solve problems (super and exascale computers) and make predictions about the relationships between components of a system (mathematical modeling). “Statistical data can help define periods of drought in certain countries and can help predict extreme weather events that can impact certain regions. Systems analytics and modelling are needed where NGOs (non-governmental organisations) need to provide food and supplies for areas in crisis or emergencies. “Then, of course, mathematical skills are needed in medicine – while many people may think it’s all based on biology and chemistry, you need someone to model what may happen with a particular drug in the body before it is even manufactured for trial.”

Analytical skills are needed in many sales-related careers – project managers need to analyse a product and the market for trends and variables which may improve their product. In digital companies, such as Facebook, data is being constantly analysed to understand their users.

Facing the challenges Although it’s clear there is a huge demand for mathematical skills in a variety of diverse careers, figures based on last year’s Leaving Cert have shown that fewer girls are opting to study maths at honours level, with this pattern following through to third level education. “There’s currently a gender imbalance in those who are choosing to study maths or maths-based subjects after secondary school” says Ní Shúilleabháin. Ní Shúilleabháin says we need to start by debunking some of the myths: “Potentially, at some point in their education, young women may not feel confident in their mathematical ability and then choose not to continue to study that subject. There seems to be a myth that maths skills are something you’re born with – either you’re good at it or you’re not. Research shows that young learners, particularly girls, dismiss maths if they don’t think they’re going to be successful in the subject. “Maths isn’t about being the quickest to answer a question. Speed does not necessarily indicate an understanding of a concept. Mathematicians can spend weeks, months or even years on a problem and often also work collaboratively on problems. Solving an unfamiliar problem can take time, but we can all improve our mathematical skills

Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin Lecturer and Assistant Professor in Mathematics & Statistics and WITS member

by practicing. “Research also shows that some learners will disengage from a subject if they don’t understand why they’re doing it. It’s important that we emphasise the process behind why we’re doing something, rather than just looking for a correct answer. For me, it’s important to highlight that mathematics is not only an abstract endeavor, but that it underpins research in very many different areas that benefit society Ní Shúilleabháin, who won the ‘Rose of Tralee’ in 2005, is a firm believer that students should pursue a course in something they enjoy. “People were surprised that I was studying a maths and physics degree during the ‘Rose of Tralee’. It wasn’t a big deal to me – there were two other girls in my class – but I guess it was unusual to have a woman talking about her degree in theoretical physics – certainly 12 years ago! “I chose to do that degree, not because I knew what kind of job I wanted after university, but because I was fascinated by physics and wanted to learn more about how mathematics could describe what was happening

in the world around us.” According to Ní Shúilleabháin, having more role models, both male and female, is essential to demonstrating the exciting opportunities that are our there for our young people: “We should continue to highlight students doing undergraduate programmes in STEM - there are some excellent 18 and 19-year-olds who are currently studying in these courses and are really enjoying them. “Even though there might not be a gender balance in a particular course, I would hope this wouldn’t put students off choosing a particular degree pathway. Now, more than ever, we need young women studying mathematics, engineering and computer science. Having a diverse group of people work on any particular problem leads to the consideration of more perspectives on solutions – from climate change to cyber security.” Not only does maths have the advantage of opening up doors to many different careers, but maths is a universal language, which means there’s also the opportunity to travel. “Maths is a language that everyone speaks, no matter what country you’re in,” says Ní Shúilleabháin. “There’s such a beautiful, rich history of maths – people have been working for centuries to build a collective way of describing the universe – from the tiniest particle to super-massive black holes. It’s a human endeavour and it’s certainly an international language. Having a maths-based degree means you can travel and work all over the world.” Read more on businessnews.ie


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Evolving and progressing in STEM careers By Clodagh Dooley

Within daa, the career opportunities for women are endless as the company operates Dublin and Cork airports, the global travel retail business ARI and airport operator and advisory firm daa International. Here, two female workers share their experiences.

de Oliveira, who’s involved in airfield analytics (managing operational traffic) and simulation and modelling of the airfield (analysing processes in a virtual setting to reduce costs and risks), says “trying to understand the workings of airplanes and solving problems in a rapidlygrowing airport is rewarding”.

Operating an airport isn’t just a matter of checking in passengers and scheduling flights, there’s also the design of the airport’s facilities to consider, runway processes to be improved and airfield strategies to be designed – these are just some of the “different and exciting responsibilities” Sable de Oliveira has as Airport Planner. “I was curious about engineering from a young age,” says de Oliveira, “and after working in maritime manufacturing in the UK when I graduated from college, I moved to Dublin and saw a job in daa which I was interested in, as it matched my skillset very well.”

Moving on up Similarly, Eva Kubalova, who moved from Slovakia to work in Dublin Airport at the age of 25, says the opportunities have been endless, particularly when it comes to career progression. “I worked for eight years as an airline Yield Analyst, monitoring and analysing booking patterns and analysing the performance of flights. I moved onto the position of a Yield Management specialist in car parking (analysing prices, demand and suitability), before I was promoted to Lead Commercial Analyst in the commercial department of Dublin Airport.

Eva Kubalova Lead Commercial Analyst, Commercial Department, Dublin Airport

Sable de Oliveira Airport Planner, Dublin Airport

“This was an amazing feeling because, beforehand, I was working in a large team so promotions don’t come about as easily – it gave me such a confidence boost. I’m passionate about improving the business performance – we need to be constantly evolving and learning about our customers.”

what can typically be viewed as a ‘male’ field. “My team is not only gender balanced, but we also have a good mix of nationalities,” says de Oliveira. “Having a diverse department is important because everyone has different ideas and strategies, so it’s important we collectively come together and bring the best of that out. “There are several women in senior roles here. My manager is female and she encourages people to progress in the company.

Diverse departments Both Kubalova and de Oliveira have never felt their gender stood in the way, despite being female in

Personally, the support I’ve been given has been very positive.” Kubalova adds: “Once the company sees there is an opportunity to progress you, they will help you. It doesn’t matter on what level you start, or where you come from, if there’s an interest and you have goals, you will always be supported. “Globally, there’s a gender bias with technical roles. Children, especially young girls, should be more encouraged to pursue these, and parents or mentors should play a part in this. “My mother always said to do whatever we enjoyed or wanted to do, and this helped me. These roles are in high demand at the moment so it’s a great time to progress in this field.”

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Going digital at Ireland’s only four-star airline Aer Lingus has invested heavily in its digital offering in recent times. IT graduate, Alexandra Goudot, talks about the exciting work she has been involved in at the company By Ben Murnane

Aer Lingus is one of Ireland’s most iconic brands and is loved by travellers in Ireland and far beyond. The airline flies to over 100 destinations across the globe, including 11 direct North American destinations. It’s worth noting that Aer Lingus also has the highest proportion of female pilots in the industry. What travel enthusiasts may not be aware of, however, is the extent of the IT infrastructure that backs up Aer Lingus services. IT graduate, Alexandra Goudot, has gotten an insight into this when she signed up to do an IT graduate programme with the company, after completing a Higher Diploma in Computing, a Bachelor of Business in International Management and a Higher Diploma in Logistics and Transport Management. “I always wanted to work for an airline and Aer Lingus had

a lot to offer on their graduate programme. “You really get to see all the different technologies that are being used, and all the different services working together. It opens your eyes to the fact that there is so much going on behind the scenes of an airline that you don’t see from the outside. People naturally just think of taking a flight, the planes up in the skies, but there is so much before you even get to that point in terms of the booking process, the airport experience and – due to continued advancement in technology – it’s an ever-changing world.”

Enhancing experiences Aer Lingus today is a digital company – more than 90 per cent of its business conducted on the island of Ireland is done online. Last year, Aer Lingus became the first Irish airline to receive a

Alexandra Goudot IT Graduate

I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a wide range of projects from database management to the launch of our new loyalty programme AerClub and many more such as an internal application for pilots. At the moment I’m working on our accessibility project, to make our whole website accessible for people with visual, motor, auditory or cognitive disabilities.

four-star rating from Skytrax, the international air transport rating organisation. In order to achieve this, the company made significant investments to enhance its guest experience, including enhancing its mobile and digital offering. Alexandra has gotten to see these efforts up close, as part of the IT graduate programme, working on many different aspects of the business.

New job Alexandra is preparing to take up a role as a Junior Software Developer with Aer Lingus in September – a role she feels the graduate programme has prepared her for very well. She will be working on the aerlingus.com website, which receives up to four million visits per month; over €1 billion is transacted through the site annually. “I will be working on the user interface, creating new

functionalities or updating current ones.” For Alexandra, her work is all about making things easier and more convenient for the consumer. “Time is precious nowadays. Technology can really help save you time – whether it’s an easy-to-use website or mobile app, or self-serve express bag drop at the airport. “I know myself, when I travel, I like when everything is made easy. This is very much the driver for change at Aer Lingus – engaging new technologies to make travel as simple and enjoyable as possible.”

For more information on open roles at Aer Lingus visit aerlingus.com/careers


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INSPIRATION

STATS

Females employed in professional STEM occupations, 2016: 19,000

7,000

in science professional roles

2,000

in engineering roles

10,000 in IT related roles

Females employed in STEM technician roles, 2016: over 12,000

8,200

in science/engineering roles

4,000 in IT roles

Source: SLMRU analysis of CSO Quarterly National Household Survey

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How STEM subjects helped Cathriona Hallahan to become Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland There are many different paths to a career and to success and many different education and training options for people looking to achieve success

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ome people leave school early and return to education, some do apprenticeships, some go to further or higher education and some pursue many different careers before finding success in their current field. The over-riding fact is that there is no one, defined path to success. Different education, training and career options suit different people, and we must be open to considering diverse opportunities including apprenticeship, further education and higher education in order to achieve success in our own lives. Role models are key to inspiring and encouraging people starting out on their career path. Female STEM role models are particularly important in encouraging young females to consider a career in a STEM occupation and the education paths that can get them there. Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland describes her path to a successful career in STEM and offers words of advice to those considering a STEM career.

Cathriona Hallahan Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland

Tell us about your background and how you got started in your career. I didn’t go to college after school but went straight to work in a small family business in the 80s before the recession hit it hard. Then, over 30 years ago now, I saw an ad in the newspaper for an Accounts Clerk role based in Sandyford Industrial Estate. I wasn’t familiar with the company at the time but soon found myself working for Microsoft! Completely by chance, I had

happened upon a company that would test and challenge me and enable me to develop many different skills over time. I was fortunate to encounter people who felt I had potential – my manager at the time encouraged me to do an accounting technician course and, subsequently, the full ACCA qualification. From finance, I spent 17 years in operations in various positions before I took up my current role as Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland. I feel like I’ve had many different careers with one company, which itself has continued to transform and develop.

Have STEM skills been useful to you in your career? Absolutely. The skills I have learned through working in the technology industry have genuinely been indispensable to me in both my work and personal life. While I didn’t study a STEM subject in 3rd level, I’ve picked up enough along the way through my maths and accounting background, as well as from my many colleagues, who themselves studied STEM. Applying critical thinking to solving

Explore the further education & training path to a STEM career. SCIENCE. TECHNOLOGY. ENGINEERING. MATHS

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Geraldine Toner Former Instrumentation Apprentice

Apprenticeship – path to a bright future

PHOTO: WOMEN IN ENGINEERING

Role models can inspire future generations of females in STEM

problems, and not getting bogged down in details, but standing back to see the big picture are great examples of how these skills have helped me throughout my career. I think this approach is reflected in my leadership style too, where I tend to take a coaching rather than directive approach with my team.

What advice would you give to someone starting out on their career? Always make your aspirations known. When the role of Managing Director in the EMEA Operations Centre first came up, I didn’t get it. I was really surprised by this so I asked my manager and he said “well, you never asked”. That was the biggest learning curve for me; I hadn’t shared my aspirations, I just assumed everybody would know I wanted the top job! My own personal leadership style focuses on enabling people to recognise their own potential and then putting the necessary structure in place so they can realise it. So I encourage young people to voice their hopes and desires from early on – apply for jobs, even if you feel you’ve only eight out of the 10 requirements, take risks, push yourself outside your comfort zone and put yourself out there.

What is the importance of STEM role models? There are so many brilliant STEM role models out there, whether you’re a young person starting out your STEM journey or you’re well established in your STEM career. They help to inspire us and show us the way forward. In fact America’s most admired female engineer Peggy Johnson, works for Microsoft. She was visiting us in Dublin recently, and spoke at an event attended by 800 young female students. During that event, we committed to enable 10,000 girls in Ireland to engage with technology in a positive way over the next two years. Through this activity, young women will be encouraged to engage with technology - through study, career or in their personal pursuits. One of our partners in this work is CoderDojo which does important work giving young people the opportunity to learn to code. We’re sponsoring CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects Showcase 2017 which is a fantastic opportunity for talented young people to show off their technical creations and meeting some interesting role models from the industry. Read more on businessnews.ie

A

fter completing school, Geraldine Toner began an apprenticeship – which has taken her to a job she truly loves. She tells her story I spent many summers working with my dad, an electrician – there was nothing better than being out on a building site, learning something new every day. After my Leaving Cert, I registered to do an electrical apprenticeship. I began by working with my dad’s company, but changed part way through to an instrumentation apprenticeship. I was sponsored by a German company, with a base in Kildare, for my instrumentation apprenticeship. I found the work absolutely brilliant; I was doing regular repairs, installations and servicing work on instrumentation equipment, things like flow meters and pressure meters. I travelled all around Ireland to all different sorts of customers, from pharmaceutical plants to waste water treatment plants. I loved every minute of it – getting to see the best bits of Ireland, and getting that professional experience.

Stepping up While I was doing the apprenticeship, I was exploring all the different areas of the field – I gained so much confidence, and decided I was ready to pursue a higher degree. The apprenticeship enabled me to enter the degree course midway through. I completed my degree in Physics and Instrumentation and now work for a medical device company in Galway, researching and developing new products. If I were to do it all again, I would do it the same way. The apprenticeship gave me everything I needed: real work experience, excellent theory learning, as well as personal confidence and a supportive environment. There are no limitations with it! Read more on apprenticeship.ie


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Companies come together to support women in tech PHOTO: CONNECTING WOMEN IN TECH

Championing women in science By Clodagh Dooley

CWIT Chairs: Lisa D’Arcy, Ifah Sivak, Etain Seymour & Fiona Coyle

What are the aims of CWIT – and what role is it playing with regard to the National ICT plan? Our main focus is attracting, retaining and promoting women in the technology industry. CWIT is a group of 17 leading technology companies in Ireland who come together with the shared vision of “connecting and supporting the development of women in the technology industry, now and in the future”. Members include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, LinkedIn, Facebook, Intel, Vodafone, Virgin Media, BT Ireland, Google, Accenture, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Eir, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Inc and Twitter. The CWIT member companies have a focus on embracing gender diversity in their industry. The collaboration between ibec and the Department of Education is to share best practices with other companies and industries to highlight and promote the excellent work that we do on a daily basis. CWIT’s role in the National ICT plan focuses on the inclusion of gender diversity in the ICT skills plan. This is seen as a significant breakthrough in women being valued within the overall talent pool of the ICT workforce in Ireland.

Whether they’re earning their degree for the first time or going back to college, women face the challenge of being the minority in many science fields. Here, we look at the importance of diversity in science and how we can support women

Are there challenges with retaining women who do choose careers in tech? How can these be overcome? One of the key activities we focus on is networking events. At these events we get to hear from a cross section within the industry and roles around the key challenges women face within the tech sector. The following are some examples of themes that regularly come up in conversation: You can’t be what you can’t see – Unconscious Bias – Diversity programmes in organisations can really help overcome some key challenges. Having quotas or stats, whereby an organisation needs to meet certain criteria, such as representation of male to female staff, for example. At CWIT, we have also started the conversation and are investigating, as an industry, what we should be doing in the workplace to retain and promote diverse talent.

According to Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in Ireland: “Ireland needs to invest in areas of real potential to ensure our future economic competitiveness”. This not only includes the centres we invest in, but also ‘who’ we invest in. “We fund approximately 4,000 people in STEM research in Ireland and, currently, less than 30 per cent are women. When we set out our Agenda 2020 strategy in 2012, we had a target to have 25 per cent female grant holders, which we achieved, and we’ve revised this upwards to 30 per cent. “We are making progress and have gone from a much lower base to a significant increase in the percentage of women over the last couple of years. “At university or PhD level, if you aggregate all science courses, there’s approximately 50 per cent male and 50 per cent female, but this differs in some courses, such as engineering, where there are more men, and medicine, where there tend to be more women.”

What challenges do women face when it comes to achieving promotion or reaching a senior position? What can be done to counter difficulties experienced here? Women are more inclined to have a ‘perfect’ resume before applying for a role, versus male counterparts, who tend to just ‘go for it’, in comparison. Job specs may have a part to play to help women overcome key challenges and encourage them to apply for roles. One of our member companies are piloting a programme on current and new job specs, comparing the use of masculine words and language. The purpose is to determine if there is a difference in applications by simply changing the content of the job spec. Development programmes to support & promote women in leadership, plus cultural programmes like Unconscious Bias and ‘Men Advocating Real Change’ (e.g. MARC Programme), are central to promoting the right conditions for empowering women to exceed in leadership.

Supporting female researchers Ferguson says that gender imbalance patterns are more noticeable at various life and career stages. “When you get into the child-bearing years, the number of women falls dramatically, or when you go into the more senior levels, they fall even more dramatically again. “As part of our gender strategy, we have a maternity allow-

How can we attract more women into tech – what part can role models, influencers, and specifically targeted programmes, play? One of CWIT’s key target groups is to approach transition year students and inform them about the benefits and rewards within the technology sector. Teachers and, in particular, parents are key influencers in raising the profile and attracting more women to get involved at a younger age. At CWIT we set up a programme called ‘IT is not just for Geeks’, which gives us a channel to connect with the right audience. CWIT supports visits to local schools, which, this year, reached over 4,000 Transition Year students.

Prof Mark Ferguson Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in Ireland

ance that supports our award holders through funding when they leave or when a team member takes a period of leave. These funds can be used by the research body to hire a replacement team member or to extend the project, so that the person can complete their work on their return.” In terms of support for women in science-related research and careers, Ferguson says that ‘Starting Investigator Research Grants (SIRGs) has been an ‘experiment’ he is very proud of. “The SIRG helps a researcher transition from working on someone else’s grant to setting out on their own path, but in previous years there was a low number of female applicants. Beforehand, higher education institutions could put forward six applicants for SIRGs, so we increased this to 12, but with the guideline that a maximum of six could be male.” This resulted in 47 per cent applications from women and when the applications were sent out to international peer review, 53 per cent of successful applications were from women, a significant jump from 27 per cent the previous year. Ferguson says the experiment has helped to find these “hidden talented women”, and he wants to build on this success.

Know what’s out there In addressing gender imparity, Ferguson feels it is vital that we are mindful of unconscious bias and myths. “Our gender strategy also focuses on gender equality across the education and public engagement initiatives – it’s about trying to increase the number of women, particularly schoolgirls, who are interested in STEM, to continue with these subjects.” Ferguson says schoolchildren and parents need to understand the careers available in science. “It’s not about a man with crazy hair in a white lab coat, it’s about the cool, creative person developing new phone apps. There are many growing industries looking for those with creative and analytical skills, such as in pharma and biopharma, perhaps creating medical devices. “In computer science, there’s a need for measuring online privacy and censorship in the ‘Internet of Things’. There’s demand for coding skills and manufacturing and automation skills. It’s all about being able to turn data into knowledge and knowledge into product – that applies to a whole range of industries. “About 80 per cent of the top jobs that are in demand today didn’t exist 10 years ago. Young people need to engage in programmes, such as Science Week, which showcase these exciting STEM careers.” Ferguson says championing more women in science makes good business sense because “a diverse company is a better, more profitable company”. He comments that these same principles also apply to the academic and research sector. “If you have a diverse team – people bringing different skills, different insights, different pieces of creativity – then, it’s success all round.”


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PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK

Committed to advancing gender equality The underrepresentation of women in higher education STEM courses is an intractable problem nationally and internationally. Here’s how the University of Limerick (UL) are actively seeking to foster gender equality By Clodagh Dooley

Prof Edmond Magner Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering

Gender imbalance in STEM-related courses is a long-term problem. It is not an issue that can can be fixed quickly; it requires a long term commitment. We have been very proactive for a number of years, with research programmes that try to understand and address the barriers for women entering the industry, as well as developing gender equality policies and procedures. Currently, 3,972 students are doing STEM-related studies here – 53 per cent of the STEM student population – and we have the highest percentage of female professors in Ireland. We make sure that we have fair recruitment processes for staff – that are unbiased – and we also ensure that staff – in particular women who take leave, whether for maternity or careers leave – are actively supported and funded to get back into work and research. We strive to attract the best talent into STEM courses, both male and female. To encourage more young people to study STEM, we send past graduates to schools to showcase the opportunities that can be available to them. We also engage with companies to give our students scholarship opportunities. Not only does this give students the chance to work in industry, we also use this as an opportunity to ask these students to return to their old schools and share their experience to inspire younger students.

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Sarah Mitchell Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics

Niamh Nash BEng in Aeronautical Engineering and PhD in composite materials

What use is maths after school? A lot of use actually. Problem solving, logical thinking and data handling are all mathematical skills which are applicable to the real world. Creating the virtual world of video games involves maths. Maths is used throughout medical research to model the spread of diseases and check the effectiveness of new medicines. Most of today’s music uses synthesisers to add effects to the sound, and these are created by software engineers using maths techniques. There are many exciting careers which involve maths and young students need to be aware of the opportunities a maths education can bring. But we need to change how we think about maths. Recently, I did an outreach programme in a school in County Limerick, where nine and 10 year old girls had already decided maths was a boy’s subject – we want to change this view. As one of the first Irish institutions to achieve the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Bronze award, we are committed to advancing gender equality in STEM. I’m very proud to have been promoted to Senior Lecturer and Head of Department recently, and I think that all women should be motivated to pursue senior or leadership roles. It’s a busy, challenging career but it’s exciting. If you have a real love for the subject, there are many careers that open up from having a maths background.

When I graduated from Aeronautical Engineering back in 2012, I graduated top of my class alongside another woman. When the course was finished, many of my classmates got careers directly after graduation in aircraft design and in aircraft leasing. I decided to continue my studies at UL, and complete a PhD in composite materials (combining materials to make a stronger material). This interest was the result of an internship I completed as an undergraduate as part of a ‘Women in Engineering’ scholarship that I won. After this, I began my current job as an Aerospace Mechanical Engineer, where I put my creative and problem-solving skills to the test – designing and assessing aviation and space flight technology. There are so many opportunities with an engineering degree – engineers are highly sought after. Engineering is a discipline for anyone, man or woman, with an interest in technical subjects and who wants to contribute to the development of essentially everything you use on a daily basis. Designing new technology, be it in everyday items, such as phones or computers, aircraft or space craft, or even designing equipment to help develop cures for diseases – it’s such a diverse subject and career. It’s the type of job where every day is different and exciting. I love going into work in the mornings as I never know what each day will bring.


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INSPIRATION

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Dr Majella Dempsey Course leader, BSc Science and BSc Mathematics Education

We need to talk about women in STEM We need to champion STEM at the earliest stages of girls’ education to bring more women into science, according to Dr Majella Dempsey, Maynooth University Department of Education.

From the earliest stages of our children’s education, gender boundaries are established. Unfortunately, whether it is because of the toys they are given or inherently gendered classroom practises, many young women grow up not envisioning a career in science. This is a terrible shame, as they are not only excluding themselves from a whole range of well paid jobs in the dynamic STEM sector, but are also depriving that male-dominated sector of the different perspectives women have to offer. To bring more women into the STEM, we need to address how girls view science and scientists from the earliest stages of childhood.

Removing boundaries At Maynooth, we are doing everything we can to remove the boundaries that prevent women following a career in science. Broad entry routes give students the opportunity to explore a wide range of science subjects before specialising, including foundation courses in biology, physics, chemistry and maths. For many students coming out of Leaving Cert, there is a real anxiety around maths, but we offer students real support in this regard and we’re seeing a large proportion of students choosing to pursue maths to degree level. All of us will have been inspired by a passionate teacher at some stage in our education. Another important element of removing the barriers to STEM subjects is demonstrating this passion to students. Our lecturers are also leading researchers, and they develop their modules around their research. The enthusiasm that comes from teaching something to which you have dedicated your career has a real impact on students. We firmly believe young people can’t get the knowledge about the possibilities in STEM without having lecturers who are passionate about what they do. Career paths The possibilities for STEM graduates are truly endless. Students need to know that solitary lab jobs or doing a PhD are not the only pathways. In the modern world, where disruption and uncertainty defines the jobs market, graduates need to be flexible and creative to fill new and emerging roles. There is always a market for the type of critical and analytical thinkers that come from STEM courses. The reality is that currently many young women write off this pathway long before they reach university. To change this, we need to take a comprehensive look at how we portray gender roles from pre-school upwards. Do so and a world of opportunity opens to our young women.

Read more on maynoothuniversity.ie

Empowering girls to be engineers By Clodagh Dooley

As the first female Director General of Engineers Ireland, Caroline Spillane, is determined to change misconceptions about who can pursue engineering careers. Here, she talks about tackling gender diversity issues in the industry

“Gender imbalance in the engineering industry is a historic issue,” says Spillane. “Traditionally, many people would think it’s a male-orientated career and, indeed, it has been a male-dominated industry. There are probably still some outdated attitudes about women entering engineering today, as there are very few female engineers. “It’s an issue not just in Ireland, but internationally, so it’s hard to establish exact figures, but we do know that less than 30 per cent of students entering third-level engineering programmes are female. This, of course, differs depending on the course and institution, but the number of women opting for engineering-related programmes is lower than we want it to be.” Spillane says that for this reason, it is important to encourage females from a young age to start thinking about STEM subjects. “A survey of our members at Engineers Ireland conducted in February found that 86 per cent of participants believe that parents and teachers can do more to break down the societal barriers to girls studying subjects that support a career in engineering. Women definitely remain an untapped resource within the engineering profession. “Through our nationwide STEPS initiative, where we have ongoing activities in schools throughout the year, we encourage all young people to actively explore the world of

Caroline Spillane Director General Of Engineers Ireland

STEM, while also showing them the exciting and diverse career opportunities they have. This culminates with Engineers Week – this year saw almost 800 events organised by schools and industry around Ireland and we hope it will be as big in 2018. “We work in partnership with STEPS funder, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), on Smart Futures to promote STEM careers to post-primary Irish students, and many other organisations to address the gender gap. Some fantastic organisations do a huge amount of work to attract young people, particularly females. They bring Transition Year students into their organization and give them hands-on experience, demonstrating the potential possibilities a career in engineering can bring.”

Making an impact Exposure to the industry can help girls to better understand the exciting opportunities ahead of them and the impact engineering careers have on Irish society. “Engineers are involved in so many exciting and diverse roles and one of the big areas is life sciences. There are a lot of young people now – particularly women – looking at studying areas such as biomedi-

cal engineering, where engineers are working alongside scientists and doctors to develop solutions for chronic diseases and illnesses. “Medical technology is another interesting area, where devices are designed to try and respond to chronic illnesses, such as pacemakers and stents. These products are developed and perfected by engineers. Engineers also play a critical role in relation to environmental issues, developing new renewable energy concepts and improving infrastructure. “There are so many possible career options and most of them are in areas that are actually going to expand. Some jobs in different industries may not exist in the future because they’re going to be replaced by technologies – but engineers will be leading the development of a lot of these technologies, so it’s really a futureproofed career.”

Leading the way As a leader in the industry, does Spillane think there can be misconceptions as to which gender is best suited to manage a team? “Men and women need to be given the same opportunities. Companies need to make sure they are encouraging both genders to step forward for opportunities and steer clear of falling into that trap of thinking women tend to take the burden of caring and so are not going to be as interested in their careers – this isn’t the case. “For organisations, diversity works better for the company. It’s not good to have too strong of one gender, just like it’s not good to have too much of one way of thinking. We need to create balance within the profession and one of the main ways we can do this is to educate young girls on the opportunities they have.”


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What does an engineer really do? An education in engineering can help to improve lives and make society a better place to live in. Here, Marguerite Sayers, Managing Director at ESB Networks, a subsidiary of ESB Group, explains By Clodagh Dooley

“Many people gravitate towards job opportunities where there’s a demand for certain skills,” says Sayers, “and there’s certainly a shortage of engineering skills in the world.” For Sayers, it is vital for people to recognise, not only these demands for engineers, but also how such roles contribute to society. “We need engineers to solve a lot of the growing issues such as climate change, advancements in medical devices, infrastructure development and creating a low carbon future, which is the core function for ESB over the next few years. “Then there’s technology in our homes, our transport and the construction of roads - they’re all developments by engineers. Engineering is about trying to find improvements for society – if you’re interested in helping people

and society and you have a strong analytical mind, then it’s a good career to consider.”

Demystifying the role Mathematical knowledge is essential in engineering, such as in developing and testing electrical equipment, but Sayers says that, frequently, students - particularly girls – are talked out of studying at honours level. “Some parents might say it can ‘take up too much of a student’s time’ or others say that they ‘need to be getting A’s’. It doesn’t take up time and you don’t need to be a maths genius - if you have an aptitude for maths, you should stick with it. “Many people also have the impression of an engineer being someone in a hard hat, working in a dusty location. Having become an engineer and moving up the

can decide what you prefer - it’s a diverse career.”

Marguerite Sayers Managing Director, ESB Networks

ladder to a managerial position, I do spend time on-site occasionally, but I’m mostly in the office. “But, going on-site and see something practical happening and taking shape is a fulfilling part of the job. Engineering is about figuring things out, innovation, efficiency and making sure something takes fruition. Whether indoors or outdoors, you

Reaching out Sayers says this is why we need to reach out to girls at a young age, so that they are aware of these opportunities they could have in the future. “During ‘Engineers Week’, we encourage young people to consider engineering as a career. ESB Group have an engagement programme in primary schools, to try to get students to understand electricity and its role. In secondary schools, we have a ‘Women in Engineering’ programme for Transtion Year students, where they get the opportunity to meet a number of successful engineers. A number of engineers are also involved in school visits programme’ ESB Group is currently the biggest employer of engineers in Ire-

land, with 850 engineers working there, however just 15 per cent of those are females. “We have apprenticeships for network technicians and we’ve 60 positions to fill. This year, we’ve had an increase in the number of female applicants, so that’s positive. “There’s no sector of society that engineers haven’t played a role in improving and we think it’s really important to get this message out and explain this to people, especially to girls, so it’s something they consider.”

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Inspiring the next generation By Clodagh Dooley

Outdated attitudes can often preclude women from pursuing or progressing in an engineering career. However, with an ambition to champion individuals regardless of gender, companies can, and will, make gender equality and diversity issues a thing of the past

For Clare Duggan, Project Engineer at Sligo Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) – operated by Celtic Anglian Water (CAW) – engineering is one of many industries where gender imbalance exists. But, Duggan – who feels she’s never been treated any differently in the workplace to her male counterparts – says this isn’t because one gender can do a job ‘better’ than the other, rather it’s because each individual needs good guidance on choosing the career that best suits them. “Equal opportunities should begin at school level, when young people are making decisions that will affect their careers. There are societal benefits to removing gender imbalances from all industries,

but this shouldn’t be the only, or primary aim when assisting young people in making career defining choices. The main goal of such guidance should centre on helping teenagers select careers that suit their skillsets and will have the ability to engage them throughout their professional lives.”

Showing enthusiasm CAW works with schools to provide tours of their plants around Ireland to encourage all children to think about a career in engineering. The tours show students examples of the challenges and opportunities within the industry. “Water and wastewater treatment is a very technological and interesting field of study/work, with a major impact on the environment,” says Inês Croft, Project Engineer at Ringsend WWTW in Dublin, operated by CAW. “Working in one of the biggest wastewater treatment plants in Europe, I’ve developed my creative problem-solving techniques, my ability to work as part of a team, my attention to detail, my capacity to handle competing priorities and my desire to learn.”

Clionadh Williams, Process Engineer at Ringsend, adds: “By showing girls the different prospects and importance of engineering, we can help build and develop the necessary skills needed for different job requirements in the future. There’s a perception that an engineering role is a man’s role – this is totally inaccurate, and we need to remove this perception. “To inspire and educate the next generation we must make what we’re teaching them valuable. It should be interactive and interesting, and we have to be enthusiastic when we’re with them. I’ve hosted school visits in the past and I found that providing hands-on experience sticks in the minds of children more so than what I have spoken about.”

Balancing tasks According to Elizabeth Cohalan, Project Engineer at Ringsend WWTW, presumptions about who can do a task, and if they can do a task based on ‘work-life balance’, are simply just that – presumptions. “For me, as an engineer, balancing work and social life has

Clare Duggan, project engineer at Sligo Wastewater treatment works; Inês Croft, project engineer at Ringsend WWTW in Dublin; Clionadh Williams, process engineer at Ringsend WWTW; and Elizabeth Cohalan, project engineer at Ringsend WWTW

been very easy to achieve,” says Elizabeth Cohalan, Project Engineer at Ringsend WWTW. “When I first started, I had only recently moved up to Dublin and was still finding my feet. On my first day, I was encouraged to join a local football team as it was important to have something outside of work. Thankfully, due to CAW’s support, I haven’t had to make any sacrifices because of my role. “I’ve also never felt that certain tasks were assigned to me because

of my gender – we’ve been provided with an environment for both men and women to get involved in the work as much they can. What plays the major role in the work you get is you; your attitude and ability to communicate. You take charge.”

Read more on caw.ie


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Leading gender balance By Clodagh Dooley

Only a fraction of high-end technology jobs are held by women internationally. However, by taking the right action now, Ireland can become a world leader for gender balance in the tech sector

For Paul Sweetman, Director of Technology Ireland, gender diversity is vital for all tech companies – and not just because it’s a laudable goal, but because it also “a business imperative”. Diveristy is key. Men and women have different ideas and insights that can lead to better problem solving, which, in turn, can improve a company’s financial performance. However, Sweetman says: “Within the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Ireland, about 18.6 per cent are female. It’s clear that there’s a massive gender imbalance in the tech sector, and this is not just in Ireland, it’s an international issue.” With a large demand for tech skills and talent in Ireland today,

women should start thinking about entering or re-entering this career path. “The skills demand in the tech sector is not just for pure technical skills, it’s also for a wide variety of workers with business acumen, comminucation skills and, most importantly, creativity and a willingness to be innovative and show initiative. “Embracing change and, in fact, driving change, is going to be a hallmark of people who succeed in the technology arena today. “To attract more women into tech, I think we need to change the conversation. We shouldn’t focus only on what you do in a tech career, but also on the outcomes of your job. “We need to make the career exciting from the perspective of what you can do in the tech sector to impact your community, your country, and the wider world.”

Getting women involved Sweetman says one of the ways to encourage more females to work within the sector is to develop

Paul Sweetman Director, Technology Ireland

strong policies and initatives. “On a policy level, we are working with the government to establish a joint industry plan. We are developing an ICT skills and diversity action plan to address the skills demand and gender imbalance – this will be launched later this year.” Technology Ireland also launched the Women ReBoot programme with Skillnets, to get women who may have taken career breaks back into the tech workforce. “Some women might feel they don’t have theright skills or net-

work that they need to get back into the workforce,” says Sweetman. “So, we support and direct women when making the step back in. “The ReBoot programme provides mentoring, training and work experience. We’re planning to increase the amount of women who participate – currently there are 29 women on the programme and we hope to bring this up to 100.”

Progressing in the industry With the right skills and support, women will not only have the ability to help grow and drive a company forward, but also the chance to progress in a role themselves. However, for this to happen, we need to ensure women are getting equal access to subjects in the education system which can impact later career choices. “The proportion of women who hold roles as exectutives in tech-related companies is very low – and this can be traced back to the education system. For example, if you wanted to become an engineer in Ireland, you needed to do honours

level maths for most of the university engineering programmes. “Back at the beginning of the careers of some current CEOs, honours level maths wasn’t taught in some girls’ schools. So, girls were instantly at a disadvantage with regard to getting into engineering programmes that then led onto other career moves. “It’s important to look back and realise how difficult it was for women to take part in the programmes that were the ticket into a particular career or profession. I think that has definitely changed, but it’s probably a strong reason why fewer women have leadership roles in tech today. We have to avoid these mistakes in this generation.” Sweetman does feel the future is looking bright for women in tech. “There are going to be good policy actions in place to try to correct the gender imbalance in the tech sector. It’s an ambition of ours to become a world leader in gender balance – we want to be a step ahead of what other countries are doing and currently, we’re making progress.”

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Skillnets delivering tech talent The next six years will see about 44,500 job openings for people with ICT (information and communications technology) skills. With the right support, now is the time for women with STEM experience to get back into the workforce By Clodagh Dooley

“In Ireland, there are nearly 118,000 people working in jobs that utilise STEM skills. However, the proportion of women employed in such roles stands at less than 25 per cent” says Tracey Donnery, Executive Director of Development at Skillnets. “Core to the success of technology businesses based in Ireland is the availability of talent. Ongoing investment in new skills is vital for the retention of key talent and long-term business success. With more jobs emerging in the tech sector for those with high-level STEM skills, it’s very important for women to see the range of career opportunities these skills can bring.”

Working with enterprise Skillnets works at the forefront of learning and development in Ireland and has recently been internationally recognised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

(OECD) as an example of best practice. Donnery says: “Our model facilitates companies and individuals to undertake leading edge training aligned to demand from enterprise – with Skillnets networks established in a range of STEM areas including ICT, software, medtech, animation, pharmachem, FinTech, space, aviation, and engineering.”

Supporting Women Through Skillnets, the tech sector is taking strides to encourage more women to progress to leadership positions and attract women with existing STEM experience back into the workforce. Donnery says, “Women who have left the sector often feel that things have moved on too far for them to return; they can lack confidence in their ability and need to familiarise themselves with new techno­logies and business models.

Tracey Donnery Executive Director of Development, Skillnets

One excellent initiative is our Software Skillnets ‘Women ReBOOT’ programme, supported by Technology Ireland, for the pool of female tech talent who have taken a break from the sector.” It is the first programme of its kind to bridge the gap between talented, professional women and tech employers – with over 20 technology companies supporting it, including Microsoft, MongoDB, SAP, Openet, Liberty

IT, Datalex, Ocuco, Xilinx and Accenture. Joe Hogan, Founder of Openet, explains: “There is a crying need for experienced talent in the software and technology sectors. With some re-training, many women returners could perfectly meet this need. Their abilities would be a huge asset to many companies.” Women ReBOOT is designed to provide a learning and support framework: building confidence, establishing new professional networks and updating skills. Software Skillnet Director, Maire Hunt, says, “We are seeing that the gender imbalance in the tech sector increases over time. Across the EU, 20 per cent of women aged 30, with ICT-related degrees work in the tech in the sector but only nine per cent of women above 45 years of age do so. Our first Women ReBOOT has already helped 28 tech women to return to the sector.” Caoimhe Carton, a recent

graduate of Women ReBOOT, says, “Even applying was a challenge for someone who had been out of the workforce for 10 years. Three months later I can’t tell you the difference in my confidence levels and how much more prepared I feel about returning to the workforce. It’s been amazing and life-changing.” Software Skillnet will run Women ReBOOT in Dublin and Cork in the Autumn of this year.

Skillnets is funded from the National Traning Fund through the Department of Education and Skills

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Women in Stem IE 2017  
Women in Stem IE 2017