– The P & M Group’s commitment to empower women and inspire the next generation of problem-solvers.
The P & M Group has always prided itself on valuing people as its greatest asset. As part of its sustainability strategy, the business has now partnered with social enterprise Stemazing to put inclusivity at the heart of talent attraction and retention. The programme has the dual aims of giving women the tools they need to become visible role models, whilst encouraging young people to embrace a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
It is a shocking fact that women still only account for 26% of the global STEM workforce. If we are to overcome some of the key challenges facing humanity, we need to tap into a richer and more diverse talent pool. Stemazing is tackling the issue by inspiring more girls to become scientists and engineers with the help of female role models from across the industry.
Engaging with the future workforce
Stemazing aims to amplify the voice of women in STEM to secure a more diverse and inclusive future. We all know the phrase, “you can’t be what you can’t see” and women across The P & M Group are volunteering their time to inspire children through online science lessons. They are teaming up with local primary schools to deliver a 6-week programme of live online STEM sessions for children aged 7 to 9, centred on simple fun experiments.
The P & M Group’s Group Sustainability Manager Joanne Swift was the first to sign up to the Stemazing programme back in 2020 and has since delivered 12 online lessons. She says: “It has been an amazing experience. It is important to engage with children at primary age to ignite that passion for science before they are influenced by job role stereotypes. It is so rewarding to see their joy and engagement.”
Empowering women in STEM
Stemazing prepares women to deliver these sessions through its Inspiration Academy. Joanne joined the first cohort of the academy which is designed to empower participants to shine as positive visible role models. Through training sessions and workshops, it gives them the confidence and tools they need to develop the presentation skills to inspire young people.
“My experience has been so positive and great that the business decided to support the programme on a long-term basis” says Joanne. “At the end of last year, we became a partner organisation sponsoring places and investing in the development of our female talent at the same time as giving them the tools they need to inspire the next generation of STEM workers.”
The P & M Group currently has a further two employees delivering STEM sessions, having been inspired by Joanne’s experience. Health and Safety Administrator, Keesha Clutterbuck, has delivered sessions to Robinswood Primary Academy in Gloucester. She says: “As a woman in health and safety I felt that I could really benefit from doing something that would boost my confidence and support my self-development. I really enjoy my Accountability Group session in the academy that allows me to talk to other women working in STEM. It offers a safe space where we can support each other.”
She adds: “I am now more confident and the first online session with the school children went really well. At school I was never given that support and encouragement to get into STEM and if me dialling in to deliver a lesson inspires a young girl to go into construction then it has all been worthwhile. I have found the experience so rewarding that I have now signed up to be STEM Ambassador to support a range of different organisations by going to schools and careers fairs to engage with young people.”
Marketing Coordinator Ellie Card is also delivering Stemazing sessions, engaging with Year 4 children at a primary school in Reading. She says: “Everyone benefits. The children really enjoy themselves and see female role models who will hopefully encourage them to engage with STEM. At the same time, as women, we work in a very male dominated environment and this programme empowers us to share our valuable perspectives without hesitation. This course has really helped boost my morale and improve my self-confidence.”
Supporting the sustainability strategy
For The P & M Group, engaging with Stemazing is a win win in terms of both supporting its current employees and helping secure a future talent pipeline. The benefits in terms of developing a more inclusive and diverse workforce links to the group’s wider sustainability strategy, whilst building greater resilience in a challenging recruitment market.
Stemazing Founder Alexander Knight set up the social enterprise in 2021 and has so far engaged with more than 300 women to deliver 80,000 Stemazing kids experiments. She is keen to upscale that engagement and encourage other businesses to reap the benefits of becoming long-term partners.
“It offers an ideal opportunity to commit to the mission, invest in people, give back to the local community and inspire the next generation of STEM employees”, says Alexander. “That is about empowering women to be visionary role models and giving them the confidence to be more visible and vocal both on the programme and within the workplace.”
For The P & M Group, the priority is to put as many female workers as possible through the programme and build even closer relationships with schools to ensure that engagement continues. There is another round of the Inspiration Academy opening in September, and Firewall Estimator Chloe Hendry, will take the next sponsored place. Stemazing will form a key part of the group’s growth plans and commitment to balancing the needs of People, Profit and Planet.