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Royal visit seeks to attract young people into STEM

90 female secondary school students joined Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at an event looking to inspire women to work in STEM

Posted by Julian Owen | March 14, 2018 | Events

International Women’s Day saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - together with 90 female secondary school students - convene at Birmingham's Millennium Point for an event seeking to inspire women to work in STEM.

Female leaders in STEM told their life stories to students as part of an event in conjunction with the award-winning social initiative, STEMettes.

Prince Harry and Ms. Markle spoke extensively to the young women as they took part in building apps and touchpads, before hearing more about their motivations to pursue STEM subjects.

“They were very friendly and very encouraging,” said one student, adding that Prince Harry in particular was interested in VR technology. Another said she would have liked Prince Harry as her brother.

Judith Armstrong, CEO of Millennium Point and an accountant by profession, told the Royal visitors and students her own story of being inspired by her mother.

“Everyone was captivated by Prince Harry and Meghan and delighted they spent so much time meeting and chatting to the students.” she said. “It was very relaxed and I have no doubt that they, and our female leaders in STEM sectors, were a great inspiration.

“But this was not just a photo opportunity. Working with Stemettes, we have helped demonstrate both the needs of business and the opportunities for females in STEM. Just 21% of those working in core STEM occupations in 2016 were women. With the estimated STEM worker shortfall now around 70,000 a year, encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM is vital.”

During the past four years, Millennium Point’s commercial activity has enabled Millennium Point Trust to donate more than £4m to organisations, projects and initiatives that support access to STEM-related education in the Midlands.

The event at Millennium Point included interactive activities, a panel discussion, speed networking opportunities with local businesses, and information on work experience, apprenticeships, A-level choices, and university degrees in STEM.

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