Big Lottery funding boost for women in science

Women working in office The project organisers said the grant would benefit women directly by providing career development activities

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A project which aims to support women working in the science, engineering and technology (Set) industries has been boosted by a major lottery grant.

The Edinburgh Napier University-based Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Set won £442,890 from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland for its Step Up! project.

It is designed to help female graduates gain jobs and support women looking to return to work after a career break.

The project organisers said the grant would benefit women directly.

Step Up! is backed by Semta, the skills sector council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies.

'Under-represented'

Linda Somerville, director of the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Set, said: "Women are significantly under-represented in science and engineering, despite these sectors offering well-paid opportunities in Scotland.

"Many women qualified in these fields don't take the next step into related employment and those that do start jobs can face additional barriers when looking to progress their careers.

"Yet science and engineering industry employers often report skills shortages and are keen to find qualified and experienced staff."

She added: "The grant will benefit women directly by providing career development activities to enable them to reach their potential and help to address the inequalities that currently exist for women at work."

Barriers 'real'

Step Up! is one of six projects across Scotland sharing a total of £2.6m from the Moving Up funding programme, which is part of the Big Lottery Fund's Life Transitions investment area.

It aims to tackle workplace inequalities for women, disabled people and people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland director Jackie Killeen said: "We know that barriers and discrimination in the workplace are very real, and get in the way of people achieving their full potential.

"Through this investment we hope to support those who face barriers to entering or progressing in the career of their choice."

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