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Female students inspired by DXC STEM event

Young people took part in a series of technology themed activites at Old Trafford.

| by Matthew Brown

Female pupils from Manchester United Foundation’s partner high schools learned about a number of exciting STEM careers in an inspiring event at Old Trafford.

Facilitated by the Foundation’s Presenting Partner, DXC Technology, the event gave the young people the opportunity to take part in a range of workshops, opening their eyes to some of the potential career pathways they can pursue in STEM industries, with a specific focus on technology.

Students were able to use virtual reality headsets as well as create their own avatars to enter a virtual metaverse, while learning about the programming required.

The event was held on National STEM Day during November, raising further awareness of different opportunities available to young people in the future, while bringing together pupils who had shown a passion for STEM-related topics in school.

Catherine Riley, project manager of DXC’s Digital Futures Academy, said: “We’ve brought together a group of female students, from schools around Manchester, to inspire them through technology that they’ve potentially never used before.

“STEM industries are often heavily male-dominated, so it’s really important that we deliver events like these aimed at young girls to generate an interest in these subjects, and inspire the female students to encourage them to take up STEM subjects in the future.

“Being at Old Trafford adds that element of engagement and excitement, it helps us to inspire them further because they can see what more opportunities are out there for them when they do leave school to see what else is out there.”

Sharmeen, a student at Dean Trust Ardwick, was particularly inspired, as she has designs on working as a Formula 1 engineer in the future.

She said: “We have been programming cars, looking at a virtual world, and using the VR headsets. I watch Formula 1 and want to be a mechanic, so coming to these trips is great to get some experience in programming and to learn about engineering”

Two students – Mena and Heidi from Co-op Academy Swinton – were recognised on the day for the commitment they displayed, earning match tickets to a Manchester United fixture at Old Trafford as a reward for their efforts.

Mena said: “We have been told about how there are so many opportunities for women in STEM industries. We’re learning more about virtual reality, robotics and coding, we learnt that we can code VR and we’d love to do more.

“Coding games, robots, AI and learning about technology – it’s all very important, we’ve learned so much and we’re definitely going to take it home and think much more about it.”

Heidi added: “It’s opened up my mind a lot more – I’ve never really thought about technology that much, but it’s been really interesting. It’s like being in a different world – the real world, and then this.

“I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity just for trying my hardest in school. It’s nice to have recognition for it, it’s really good. I’m a massive United fan too, so I’m buzzing.”