The UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), in collaboration with Apple, has announced its exciting ‘Girls into Electronics’ programme for 2023. This initiative will provide opportunities for hundreds of girls between ages 15-18 to be inspired by Electronics and will be delivered in collaboration with 15 of the UK’s leading universities.

The Electronics sector is extremely important to the UK economy. The global semiconductor industry is the fourth largest industry in the world, and the global compound semiconductor market has been forecast to reach $136 billion by 2024, of which the UK have an 8% share. However, the demand for employable graduates is currently outstripping supply. UCAS figures show that only 3,245 students enrolled on degrees in Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the UK 2021, of which as few as 335 were women.

The UKESF and Apple have launched the initiative to support 400 girls to gain insight into Electronics, in an effort to address the skills shortage and to help improve gender imbalance in the sector.

Making advances in Electronics and semiconductors is critical to providing technological solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing society, including climate change, improving healthcare and better connectivity and communications. Initiatives like Girls into Electronics are important to encourage more students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in this vital profession.

Speaking about Girls into Electronics, Stew Edmondson, CEO, UKESF said: “Many students touch upon Electronics in their Physics and Computer Science lessons at school, but the breadth, complexity and importance of the field is often not fully understood. This initiative will ensure that more young people get to experience this fascinating and creative subject, and learn about the worthwhile opportunities available in Electronics Engineering.

“We believe education can be a powerful force for equity, and help provide young women with the tools and opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in hardware engineering,” said Mari-Anne Chiromo, Apple Inclusion and Diversity Partnerships Lead EMEIA. “We’re thrilled to be working with the UKESF on this important initiative, to encourage more women from all backgrounds to study electronic engineering and improve the current gender imbalance in the field.”

Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) said, “A strong Electronics and ‘deep tech’ industry is essential to the health of the UK economy but we know that the UK has a skills shortage in this critical sector. That’s why it’s great to see the work that the UKESF is doing encouraging more young people to pursue careers as Electronics Engineers. In particular, their Girls into Electronics initiative has the potential to make a real difference and it is something that we strongly support.”

Some of the UK’s top universities are participating in the initiative, including Bristol, Imperial College London, Leeds and Southampton. The events will take place in June and July 2023, students can find out more and register their interest in attending here.