A new app aimed at encouraging girls aged 13-18 to pursue careers across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is to be launched by EY Ireland following a successful pilot in the US and India.
EY Ireland is hoping to reach at least 5,000 girls throughout the Republic, which is the first of seven new countries to launch the EY STEM App, with six others, including Canada, the UK, UAE, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, following suit throughout 2022.
The app was developed by EY in collaboration with SkillsVR, an organisation dedicated to developing potential talent through immersive learning.
It features modules and activities focused on science, such as climate change or space exploration; technology, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing or blockchain; and the future of work and skills that may be required for future yet-to-be-defined jobs.
EY partner Helena O’Dwyer said advancing girls’ skills and interests in STEM “is vital” to closing the gender gap in technology.
“It’s crucial that women and girls have the opportunity to realise their full potential as leaders and change-makers in a world increasingly enabled by technology,” she said.
“We’re proud to be rolling out this app here in Ireland as we think it has the real potential to make STEM learning more accessible and rewarding for thousands of girls.
“The CSO recently reported that only 25 per cent of roles in STEM are performed by women in Ireland, so the development and rollout of this app is not only incredibly timely but also crucial when skills shortages have never been more prolific and competition for talent has never been more fierce.”
EY said the free-to-use app connects girls with a wide range of learning activities from exploring new technologies, to learning how design thinking can help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
The app aims to nurture confidence and competence in STEM, and also develop capabilities such as critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and systems thinking, and social skills and teamwork.
Hundreds of individual activities – each broken into bite-size steps, such as watching a video, answering thought-provoking questions or carrying out an experiment – support self-directed learning.
Girls are also encouraged to take real-life actions beyond the phone app, such as interviewing members of their community, applying design thinking to solve community problems and conducting experiments, such as building a solar oven with household items.