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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 11:47 GMT
Online focus on science careers
Female engineering graduates have risen from 7% to 15%
Female engineering graduates have risen from 7% to 15%
An initiative to encourage girls and women in Northern Ireland to pursue careers in science has been launched.

Wise (Women Into Science and Engineering) unveiled its new website at the Odyssey's W5 centre.

It features profiles of role models, a notice board and discussion forum.

Speaking at the launch, the minister for employment and learning, Carmel Hanna, said that a growing number of companies in the province were acknowledging the need to encourage more women to pursue careers in technology.

Internet technology is now an integral part of life, providing a strong foundation for information gathering, decision making and career management

Carmel Hanna Employment and learning minister

"The development of this new website by Wise will be a useful tool in providing information for young women considering careers in science, engineering and technology," she said.

"In today's labour market, people can face barriers to employability.

The minister added that her department was committed to helping people "overcome" those barriers.

"By accessing this website, women will derive much benefit from the encouragement they receive and the role models they learn about," she said.

"Internet technology is now an integral part of life, providing a strong foundation for information gathering, decision making and career management.


"We all share a responsibility to promote strong links between schools, colleges and businesses and the mutually beneficial outcomes for students and employers that such links can bring."

The Wise campaign - launched in 1984 - has seen the percentage of female engineering graduates rise from 7% to 15%.

Carmel Hanna  Minister for Employment and Learning
Carmel Hanna: Encouraged women to use the website
Chairperson of Wise Northern Ireland Tanya Wishart said the launch was part of the branch's 10th anniversary celebrations.

"It is aimed at those who are considering careers in science and engineering," she said.

"Young girls can contact people in the field. They can submit their queries or try and secure a placement with a company.

"They can also get support and help from women and scientists working in the field, keep track of events and enter the discussion forums to raise relevant issues."

Wise has been supported in its drive by some of Northern Ireland's largest companies and by the two universities.

Visitors to the new site will be able to see those involved in the campaign.

"Lots of people are put off because they do not know anybody who is involved in the field," said Ms Wishart.

"However, this allows girls and young women to contact those who are involved for advice and to answer their questions."

See also:

14 Nov 99 | Education
Female dons losing out on pay
14 Nov 99 | Wales
Men-only club comes under fire
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