UKESF and Apple to inspire more girls into electronics

7th March 2024
Paige West

The UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), in partnership with Apple, has unveiled its 'Girls into Electronics' programme for 2023, aimed at motivating hundreds of young women aged 15-18 towards careers in electronics.

This programme will be executed in collaboration with 15 top universities across the UK.

Electronics plays a pivotal role in the UK's economic landscape, with the global semiconductor industry ranking as the world's fourth largest. Projections indicate the global compound semiconductor market could reach $136 billion by 2024, with the UK holding an 8% market share. Despite this, the sector faces a significant challenge: the supply of skilled graduates is not meeting demand. According to UCAS, only 3,245 students embarked on Electronic and Electrical Engineering degrees in the UK in 2021, with just 335 of those being women.

To combat this skills gap and contribute to correcting the gender imbalance within the field, the UKESF and Apple have initiated this programme to engage 400 girls, offering them a glimpse into the world of Electronics.

Advancements in electronics and semiconductors are crucial for developing technological solutions to global challenges such as climate change, healthcare improvements, and enhanced connectivity. Therefore, initiatives like 'Girls into Electronics' are vital for attracting a more diverse pool of talent into this essential profession.

Speaking about Girls into Electronics, Stew Edmondson, CEO, UKESF said: “Many students touch upon Electronics in their Physics and Computer Science lessons at school, but the breadth, complexity and importance of the field is often not fully understood. This initiative will ensure that more young people get to experience this fascinating and creative subject, and learn about the worthwhile opportunities available in Electronics Engineering.

“We believe education can be a powerful force for equity, and help provide young women with the tools and opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in hardware engineering,” said Mari-Anne Chiromo, Apple Inclusion and Diversity Partnerships Lead EMEIA. “We’re thrilled to be working with the UKESF on this important initiative, to encourage more women from all backgrounds to study electronic engineering and improve the current gender imbalance in the field.”

Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) said: “A strong Electronics and ‘deep tech’ industry is essential to the health of the UK economy but we know that the UK has a skills shortage in this critical sector. That’s why it’s great to see the work that the UKESF is doing encouraging more young people to pursue careers as Electronics Engineers. In particular, their Girls into Electronics initiative has the potential to make a real difference and it is something that we strongly support.”

Some of the UK’s top universities are participating in the initiative, including Bristol, Imperial College London, Leeds, and Southampton. The events will take place in June and July 2023, students can find out more and register their interest in attending here.

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