International Women’s Day: Let’s talk STEAM

International Women’s Day: Let’s talk STEAM

As it’s International Women’s day, we thought we’d showcase some inspiring women who shared their experiences of studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects at Perth College UHI.

Research shows that that science and technology jobs will grow twice as fast as other occupations between now and 2023, but the number of women currently working in core STEM industries in Scotland is just one in four. Encouraging women to study subjects that will open up a career in these areas is critical to filling the future skills gap. 

Within the technology area, computer programming and technical support are areas that most people are familiar with, but there are lots of other opportunities in the tech sector such as mobile apps development, web development, customer service, sales, animation and design, technical writing and quality assurance and testing.

There are more women than ever before forging successful careers in the construction industry, across a variety of roles including: carpentry, joinery, civil engineering, project management, quantity surveying and architecture. Around 15% of construction jobs, in Scotland, are undertaken by women.

It is encouraging that there are more women working in core STEM industries than ever before. According to WISE, the UK is on course to employ one million women in STEM roles in 2020.

So, is it STEM or STEAM?

STEM is also referred as STEAM as it is arguable that the input of creative professionals has a positive effect on innovation.

Here’s Creative Industries Lecturer, Deidre Bennett, to tell us more:

“As an interdisciplinary artist I always get excited by new media, however I am also very conscious of the impact that my art has on the environment and try to reuse/recycle where I can. 

“I have recently been exploring electronics and programming; in particular the open source platform and microprocessor; Arduino, and how I could utilise this medium in my practice. Arduino is an ethical platform that encourages its users to share code and schematics which can be adapted and redeveloped into real world problem solving/design resolutions. With this platform you can also recycle and reuse old electronics. I recently built an object avoiding drawing robot. The sense of excitement and achievement that comes from working with these microprocessors motivates me to explore the platform further. This excitement and sense of play is something I seek to instil in my students.” 

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John McRitchie, Construction Lecturer, adds:

“In architecture, art and maths work together to create beautiful outcomes to a high standard. Colour, shape and form are integral to the architectural design process, but would be classed as artistic goals rather than performance goals. The societal benefits to having aesthetically pleasing spaces to live and work are undeniable.”

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Erin Marshall - HNC Construction Management

“Before I came to Perth College UHI, I was at school and living in Perth. I decided to do the HNC Construction Management course as part of my apprenticeship, it is giving me the knowledge to further my qualifications as a Quantity Surveyor.

“The thing I like most about studying here is the level of support from my lecturer, I’ve also made new friends and was pleased to fit in with my class. Completing this course will help me finish my apprenticeship, I then plan to do a degree in Quantity Surveying. I’m really enjoying life as a student here, and would recommend it to others.”

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Nurina Sharmin - BEng (Hons) Aircraft Engineering

“I’m from Milton Keynes and before I came to Perth College UHI I completed my A- Levels. Perth College UHI had the perfect course for me, tailored to my career aspiration to become a commercial pilot. Having a degree in aircraft engineering means that I have additional knowledge in the field I want to work in, it also means I have a back-up plan if things don’t work out or I need a change in career. Aircraft and aviation have always appealed to me and aircraft engineering seemed to be the perfect fit.

“I like the one-to-one review we get from our lecturers and how they help us understand the content. Studying at Perth College UHI means that I get more support from the lecturers. I like the fact that each module is different and we learn different skills which we’re able to enhance over the years.

 “In the first year of the degree I was the only female in class, I’m delighted to say that have always been made to feel welcome by staff and students. It just makes it so much easier to focus and do what I came to do. These positive experiences inspired me to run and become elected as the Vice President of Education and Engagement with the student’s association.”

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Natasha Bazeley - Diploma in Accident Repair Paint Principles: Level 5/6 and Diploma in Accident Repair Body Principles: Level 6

“Before coming to Perth College UHI, I had been to College twice before, but worked in various jobs. I have always been interested in cars, but never thought I could go anywhere with it.

“This course was insightful and very hands-on showing all the different aspects I would be facing in the workplace. The tutors have been very caring, friendly and supportive. The big plan for me is to have my own workshop and work on classic cars and restoring them to their natural glory. Until then, I will work my way up and learn from other skilled workers in the field.”

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Agata Lewicka - BSc (Hons) Applied Science

“Before I came to Perth College UHI I studied in Poland. I then decided I wanted to finish my degree and get a qualification that would be recognised internationally while getting some life experience in a different country.

“I chose this course because it was related to what I was studying in Poland and allowed me to finish my degree. Microbiology and Science are my passion!

"The work placement was fantastic, it allowed me to gain hands-on experience. In my third year, I went on a work placement at Perth Grammar School as an Assistant to the Senior Science Technician. For my final year placement I worked as Assistant to the Quality Control Team at Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has resulted in a full-time job.” 

Zunaira Razwan - HND Computer Science

“I am originally from Italy but live in Perth. I decided to choose the HNC Computing course because I am interested in technology and programming.

“I like that my course is well-organised and had all the units I wanted to learn. My favourite areas are databases and SQL. There are lots of positive opportunities at Perth College UHI, there have been lots of events to help students learn something new.

“My qualification will help me get a job in an IT Company, I’m really interested in software development. I would recommend people come to Perth College UHI to study because the quality of the learning experience is extremely high and moreover, staff and lecturers are very friendly.” 

Interested in studying at Perth College UHI? Head over to our website to check out the vast range of courses available in STEAM subjects.

Aeronautical and Aircraft Engineering

Automotive Engineering

Built Environment


Creative Industries

Mechanical and Electrical Systems

Science Technology


Useful resources:

Equate Scotland

WISE Campaign

The Scottish Government – Women in STEM

STEM Graduates

Automotive Engineering Department: Project Focus

Automotive Engineering Department: Project Focus

What is a Foundation Apprenticeship?

What is a Foundation Apprenticeship?