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Liz champions diversity in STEM

On 24th October I discussed the importance of increasing diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with the Young Fabians.

I think this issue is a matter of social justice and an economic imperative. Jobs and opportunities should be open to everyone, no matter where you are born, what your parents did, your gender, sexuality or the colour of your skin. Our economic success also depends on drawing on the talents of everyone.

However, at present there is a real lack of diversity in STEM education, jobs and careers. For example only 7% of girls who take STEM GCSE go on to finish a STEM apprenticeship or high education course. Britain has the smallest number of female engineers in Europe, at under 10%. Only 46% of black engineering graduates are in full time jobs within 6 months of leaving university, compared to 71% of white engineering graduates.

We need to take action at every level: improving careers advice in primary and secondary schools, increasing diversity in apprenticeships, ensuring universities do more to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds and making sure employers improve diversity through their recruitment processes and by promoting flexible working.

You can read more about the Young Fabians here.