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Supporting STEM students to transition into tech careers

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Karolina Pietkiewicz

Communications Lead, Connecting Women in Technology

A diverse workforce is the key to unlocking innovation and inclusion in the industry. We’re encouraging STEM students to consider tech as an attractive career choice.  

The continuous growth of STEM industry jobs means an increasing demand for experts. Although Ireland has the second highest percentage of STEM graduates per 1,000 students in the EU, the percentage of females within that group remains low. A recent study found that 40% of female engineering graduates never enter careers in related fields, similar patterns occur in other STEM courses. 

Retaining female talent in the industry 

Connecting Women in Technology (CWiT) is committed to building a diverse and inclusive technology sector. Our goal is to attract and retain more diverse talent to study and work in STEM. In 2019, in partnership with Hardwired.ie, we launched our flagship programme Tech Starter to present the plethora of career options in the tech sector to university graduates. The objectives of the programme are to reduce STEM dropouts and increase the number of graduates in technology professions. 

The programme started as a series of panel discussions, during which speakers shed light on their own experience of transitioning from university to workplace and navigating their career within the industry. We have now expanded to a wide array of activities with member companies and partners from panels or fireside chats to workshops that help develop practical skills. 

Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform their counterparts.

Unlocking the potential of a diverse workforce 

The ‘Why Diversity Matters’ report points out that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform their counterparts. CWiT supports member companies with issues related to recruitment of skilled females to their organisations. By inspiring new generations of students to take up STEM careers, we contribute to building a more inclusive and diverse workforce in the Irish technology sector. This will lead to even greater impact and better results of the organisations that also translates into a socio-economic development of the country. 

What’s next? 

We worked with universities, student organisations and partners to deliver nine events so far. The pandemic forced us to pivot to fully virtual delivery, which turned out to be an excellent opportunity to scale the programme. Our online events record a much bigger audience, as each of them is open to all universities at the same time. It is estimated that ever since the launch of the programme, we have reached over 1,000 students in 2021 only. We are planning a new series of events starting in September 2021.  

For more information about Connecting Women in Technology and Tech Starter visit www.cwit.ie and hardwired.ie. 

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