Inspiring the innovators of tomorrow

CA's ambition is to reach 50,000 under-18 students in Europe by 2020 – inspiring them to consider careers in STEM.

Software is now the core component of an organisation’s DNA. Business models are hastily being rewritten as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and machine learning disrupt the world. Every company today must digitally transform to stay relevant and competitive – and that means fostering innovation. 

While technology enables innovation, skills are the new currency.

Unfortunately, this currency is in short supply. Despite this unstoppable forward march of technology, there is a chronic skills gap in Europe. Too few children and students are learning science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. A 2017 European Commission report, for example, finds that 44% of adult Europeans do not have basic digital skills, despite the fact that, by 2025, it is expected there will be 8.2 million new STEM jobs in Europe. Bold action is needed to shift young people’s perceptions of STEM subjects and prepare them with 21st century skills to thrive in a digital world.

It doesn’t stop there. Owing to gender stereotyping, too few girls are choosing to learn STEM skills, and there is an urgent responsibility to encourage more women to work and succeed in STEM-related careers. Indeed, EU research indicates that closing this gender gap in STEM could lead to an improvement in EU GDP of up to €820 billion by 2050. Make no mistake: there is growing research to suggest gender stereotyping – and unconscious biases – impact decision making, from the classroom all the way to the boardroom.

So what can be done?

The recently published CA Technologies CSR report “Inspiring the Innovators of Tomorrow” provides thought-provoking and inspirational insight into the lack of STEM skills and gender imbalance. For Europe to realise its full digital potential and for substantial change to happen, the report argues, coordinated and collaborative multi-stakeholder partnerships are needed across education, government and industry.

For Europe to realise its full digital potential, dedicated collaboration between the key players – education, business and governments – is required to address the chronic STEM skills gap and, in particular, the gender imbalance.

CA Technologies launched its European CSR programme Create Tomorrow, in 2015 with the aim of getting get more young people excited about STEM careers – and to tackle the gender imbalance. Create Tomorrow is underpinned by the Company’s pledge to the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, and is built on a multi-stakeholder European partnership across education, government and industry.

In 2017, CA Technologies reached a milestone by connecting with more than 10,000 under-18 school students and over 600 school teachers in Europe. Led by employees who volunteer their time to show school students what it’s like to work in STEM and the connections between studies and career opportunities, Create Tomorrow includes female role models who can talk to girls about their career journey and the exciting opportunities ahead in the world of STEM.

Examples of multi-stakeholder collaboration

The “Inspiring the Innovators of Tomorrow” report includes examples of how education, governments and industry can come together to tackle the skills shortage and gender imbalance. These include:

STEM teaching placements: School teachers have significant influence in their students’ career choices, and industry placements will provide teachers with the opportunity to see first-hand the exciting career opportunities open to their students. Head teachers and education ministries must support teacher participation in such programmes. To this end, CA Technologies will pilot teacher placements in the UK and the Czech Republic during 2018.

Unconscious bias training: The inclusion of unconscious bias training in teachers’ professional development programmes, and within teacher training modules, will equip them with the skills to recognise their unconscious bias and how this impacts their behaviour in terms of gender stereotyping in the classroom. During 2018, CA Technologies STEM ambassadors will deliver unconscious bias training via its teacher placements.

Increased industry engagement: The People Like Me programme, developed by the WISE campaign, is designed to attract more girls into STEM subjects and careers. As a founder sponsor of People Like Me Goes Digital, CA Technologies, along with the other supporting industry partners, is aiming to reach 200,000 11-15-year-old girls in the UK. CA is also supporting the expansion of the program into French, German, Spanish, Czech and Italian and will be delivering interactive workshops for parents and their daughters, staffed by CA employees.

You can read the full report here.

Sarah Atkinson is Vice President, Communications, Exec Sponsor for Gender Diversity, EMEA and a Board…


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