Partnering with UpskillMe to inspire tomorrow’s innovators
Posted byKaren Borrer, Communications, BII Operations
For UCB, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are essential. Our business needs a diverse workforce that embraces difference and reflects the communities we work with and in. We need that to care for our patients, people and planet – and do that sustainably. After all, diversity drives innovation, a concept at the very heart of our patient-centred strategy.
But when it comes to the number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the numbers don’t add up. While more than one million women are working in STEM roles, they only represent 24% of the entire STEM workforce in the UK. Moreover, women represent less than 30% of the world’s researchers, only 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK and a mere 26% of STEM graduates.
UCB wants to make a real difference by improving DE&I throughout our business and our industry. And that is why we are proud to be the first pharmaceutical company to team up with UK social enterprise UpskillMe. Through this collaboration, we aim to support the next generation of young scientists and inspire tomorrow’s innovators.
UpskillMe is a careers network that supports under-represented and less advantaged young people. It helps them build the skills, connections and knowledge they need to thrive in the future. After all, every person has unique strengths, and UpskillMe aims to help young people find theirs so they can flourish. It specifically designed its employability programmes to help talented and motivated young people aged 11 to 18 achieve their aspirations.
Inspiring women in STEM
Our first collaboration with UpskillMe aims to help tackle the low numbers of women in STEM. The ‘Empowered Females STEM Mentoring Programme’ aims to inspire the next generation of women, raising their aspirations for studying STEM subjects and embarking on a STEM career in STEM.
Working closely with UpskillMe, five of UCB’s female scientists based in our UK Research and Development hub in Slough will be delivering a mentoring programme to engage and empower female students to maximise their skills and raise their aspirations for studying STEM subjects and a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.
The six-month programme consists of a series of mentoring sessions and masterclasses to engage and empower 20 female students, promote a growth mindset and maximise skills and aspirations. Over the six months, the students will build both their own personal brand. Specific career advice for succeeding in STEM will help them also build resilience.
At the end of the mentoring programme, the female students will ‘graduate’ more prepared personally and professionally. They will be ready to consider further education and a career in STEM.
Partnering to make a difference
Through partnerships such as this, UCB hopes to help address the inequities that exist for children and young people today. We hope that by offering tailored and targeted support to some of the most disadvantaged, we can inspire the innovators of tomorrow while making DE&I a reality for all.
For us, this is not just good business sense – it’s sustainable business sense.