Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Friday, January 26, 2018

Inspiring Looby

Looby with her Little Bits Droid courtesy of the EDF #prettycurious campaign, inspiring teen girls into STEM careers, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Since Looby and I started our home education journey in September last year, I've tried to come up with as many different topics as I could to inspire her to break boundaries and explore areas other than horses (the girl is mad about horses)!  As we approach what is, effectively, half way through year nine, we're now beginning to think about what she's going to study at GCSE level from September and science is at the very forefront of our learning choices, Looby loves science, it's the only subject I employ a tutor for, and the reason for that has been watching her enthusiasm, she's also a natural with tech although I'm not sure she'd admit it.  She's a natural problem solver and knows more about coding at the age of 14 than I will ever do.

Over the last 10 or so years I've been lucky enough to be part of the Thinking Digital community in Newcastle, tech and digital matters are part of who I am, being a photographer after all, is one of the oldest jobs in tech and so I've joined the #prettycurious campaign which is run by EDF and aims to help to inspire more girls into STEM careers.

Did you know that just one in four people working in core STEM roles in the UK are women?  EDF Energy has set an ambition that 30% of its STEM graduate and apprenticeship intake will be women by 2018.  They are already ahead of their targets but they still have more work to do.  

Being part of the tech community in Newcastle has proven just how male dominated it still is, don't get me wrong, there are some amazing women in tech out there but when I attend the Thinking Digital Conference yearly, there's definitely a higher men to women ratio and I believe that our daughters are the ones who can change this.  Women as a whole are the most amazing problem solvers, we can multi-task successfully and we're great at reading instructions and building things.  Looby herself is my chief Ikea furniture builder, it's all the building blocks of a brain which is made for a STEM career.

I know many of you who read my blog have daughters around the same age as Looby (and Abigail who is just about to sit her triple science GCSE's) and I wonder as parents what we can do to inspire our daughters and our daughters daughters to take the world of STEM careers by storm.

Now there's a chance you are sitting there wondering what the heck STEM is so let me tell you -
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and if you want to know more about that you can check out the following resources with your teens - 

Of course I do not know what the future truly holds for Looby, as parents we can advise and help but ultimately it's up to our teens to navigate their own path, I do know though that over the last couple of days since receiving a Little Bits droid kit she's been so enthusiastic about building her droid and making it do all kinds of things, including chasing Holly Bobbins around the lounge, much to Looby's amusement (not so much Holly Bobbins).  At one point her droid came up to me and shouted "Hello Mammy" I'm not even sure where I would begin to try and teach a robot to talk and carry messages.

Whatever path she takes though I can at least say I helped enrich her life with science and technology, our world isn't standing still and by 2023 it's expected that the job rate in STEM will double over other traditional careers.


I’m working with EDF Energy and BritMums to promote the #PrettyCurious programme. Visit Pretty Curious  for more information and advice.”
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