17 Jun 19

SmartSTEMs celebrates reaching 10,000th student

A charitable organisation that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers is celebrating a significant milestone at its latest event in Glasgow.

More than 570 girls have been learning about the benefits of a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at an event held by SmartSTEMs at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Madison Caldwell (10) from St Bernard’s Primary School in Nitshill was identified as the 10,000th pupil to attend and was presented with a Lego wind turbine kit donated by headline partner EDF Energy to mark the milestone.

Madison said: “I won a wind farm Lego kit for being the 10,000th young person to come to SmartSTEMs. I’m really happy to have won, the kit looks really cool”.

The pupils aged between 10 and 14, from schools across the city, heard from Digital Security, Forensics and Ethical Hacking student Maria Khokhar, winner of the GCU Student of the Year award, and Rachel Boyd, a technician at Hunterston B power station, about her career in STEM. They also took part in a series of hands-on workshops including ‘Wired for Sound: Exploring Analogue and Digital Technologies in Live Audio’, ‘Build your own Fitbit’ and ‘Keeping you safe in Cyber Space’.

Figures show that at the moment just one in four people working in core STEM careers in Scotland is female[1]. Research also shows that in engineering alone 124,000 new recruits will be needed each year until 2024 to meet job demand[2].

Events run by charitable organisation SmartSTEMs target pupils aged 10 to 14 and aim to address these challenges and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to study STEM subjects at school.

Today’s session was one of 20 SmartSTEMs plan to deliver in partnership with EDF Energy before the end of the year, reaching up to 5,000 pupils.

Rachel Boyd, said: “When I was growing up I was always lucky to have female role models working in engineering who inspired me pursue a STEM career. It was only when I started my training that I realised how few women there actually were working in the industry. Right now, only one in four people working in core STEM industries in Scotland is a woman. That is why I think it is so important that girls today have visible role models they can identify with.

“I’m delighted that EDF Energy’s support has helped SmartSTEMs reach this milestone. We want to open girls’ eyes along with those of their parents and teachers, to the variety of jobs available in these industries. Giving them the chance to hear from women working in these jobs and to find out about the range of careers they could enter can do just that.”

GCU was the first venue to host a SmartSTEMs event in 2015.

GCU’s Dr Tuleen Boutaleb, Senior Lecturer in Telecommunications and Electronics, said: “We’re thrilled to once again be offering girls an opportunity to explore for themselves the exciting opportunities open to them in careers in fields such as engineering and computing.

“GCU was the first Scottish university to team up with SmartSTEMS and, as a pioneer, we are delighted to see this fun and exciting event now being embraced and replicated by so many other institutions across the country. The event promotes STEM to pupils aged 10 to 14 − a crucial period before choosing their subject paths at school and opens up so many possibilities for the future.”

Stuart Macdonald, of SmartSTEMs said: “We are delighted to pull together many wonderful industry partners and scores of generous volunteers to deliver this great event for these young girls. Proud to be playing our part in making Scotland a great place to discover and pursue STEM careers.”

For more information contact: Fiona McCall, fiona.mccall@edf-energy.com, 07813232347.

Notes to Editors:

The schools attending today are:

Glasgow Gaelic School (Primary)

St Constantine’s Primary

St Bernard’s Primary School

Dunard Primary School

Langside Primary School

Kelvinside Academy

Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School

St John Bosco Primary School

Sandwood Primary School

Cadder Primary School

Broomhill Primary School

Thornwood Primary

Shawlands Primary

Pirie Park Primary

Balornock Primary

Haghill Park Primary

St Denis’ Primary

St Cuthbert’s RC PS

St. Bartholomew's Primary 

Govan High School

Bellahouston Academy

Cleveden Secondary School

Knightswood Secondary School

Notre Dame

St Margaret Mary's Secondary School

Glasgow Gaelic School (Secondary)

St Ninian's


[1] https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/statistics/2018-workforce-statistics/

[2] https://www.engineeringuk.com/media/1576/7444_enguk18_synopsis_standalone_aw.pdf

For more information

Fiona McCall
External Communications Manager (Scotland)
(T) 01355 846281
(M) 07813 232 347