Tackling a skills shortage while boosting social mobility and diversity in the tech sector are key aims of the In2ScienceUK and University of Birmingham link up.
A charity and university have teamed up to help disadvantaged pupils gain technology skills, with aims to boost diversity and mobility.
The partnership has been formed by IN2scienceUK, a charity which supports opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), and the University of Birmingham.
The aim is to boost diversity in these sectors as well as increase social mobility in the West Midlands area.
Through the partnership Year 12 students will be helped to gain work placements across the university’s STEM departments.
They will also gain access to STEM workshops, competitions and receive guidance on university applications.
The charity has already supported more than 1,000 students from across 326 schools.
Of those supported eight out of ten went on to be offered a place at university as the charity looks to boost diversity in the sector.
“The social background of bright young students should never act as a barrier to their progression into university and high skilled STEM careers,” said Dr Rebecca McKelvey, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of In2ScienceUK.
“There is an enormous amount of untapped potential among disadvantaged young people who often remain overlooked, but who could hold the key to addressing the current shortfall in STEM-skilled workers within the UK.
“Our partnership with the University of Birmingham is a fantastic opportunity to open up access and widen participation in STEM from students in the region.
The benefits will be felt widely, providing a much-needed boost to social mobility, while tackling the wider shortfall in STEM talent across the UK.”
In the West Midlands region around a fifth (18.7 per cent) of secondary school students are entitled to free school meals, the fourth highest region in England. Birmingham has the third highest level of deprivation among English councils.
Dr Clare Ray, College of Medical and Dental Sciences Lead for Outreach and Widening Participation at the University of Birmingham, added: “We are hoping that the placements will inspire and support students currently underrepresented in higher education to consider pursuing study and careers in these important areas for the development of our region and the whole country.
“They will see first-hand the research being carried out at the University of Birmingham that will lead to the discoveries and developments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics which are likely to influence their own lives in the future.”
Last year the #NonGraduatesWelcome social media campaign launched to encourage charities to improve diversity and social inclusion by interviewing more job candidates who are not graduates.