Around Britain with a purple monsterOne simple goal – give a dose of Monster Confidence to the UK’s young women in STEM. One simple method – Fun Free and Food.

But how did it go in Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham and Cardiff?  What did the attendees think?  How did the partners and supporters get involved?  And what were the talking points afterwards?

Here’s the inside story – and you better get ready for Monster Confidence 2017!

1. STEM skills are in high high high demand

STEM careers are fab, rewarding and interesting.   That’s why so many organisations got involved in Monster Confidence – more than 30 including National Grid, BT, CSC, FDM group. Sinead Bunting told Glasgow West End:  “There will be 1 million more jobs needed in tech by 2020 and society can no longer afford to ignore such a large percentage of the workforce”

What are you waiting for?!

2. Virtual Reality is already here, and a big hit!

One of the most popular exhibits at MC were Virtual Reality headsets. Games NI bought their kit to showcase the opportunities in Games Development, and companies like National Grid are exploring the technology.  Here’s Avril Hayden rocking the Oculus Rift – she made the trip from Dublin to Belfast and had a blast.

mc-vr

3. The abilities you need for STEM, may not be the ones you expect

It’s a myth you need to be a Maths genius to get along in the sector, there are lots of different roles.  Creativity is a big part of STEM careers – you can make music from a glass bottle, wood and string as this BBC video from Cardiff shows.   Resilience was a huge theme amongst our speakers, they’ve all  had ups and downs in their careers, that it’s ok to fail, and have the confidence to turn down opportunities if they don’t inspire you.  Aim high, but don’t fall into the perfection trap.  

4. “Tell me and I forget.   Teach me and I remember.   Involve me and I learn.”  – Benjamin Franklin.

Monster Confidence was created to give practical skills through workshops and interaction.  With topics like online branding, CV building, presentation skills and networking – did it work?   

Jaime perfectly summarised her experience “Last on the agenda was interview practice, something I personally find terrifying. However interview practice and preparation is so important for making you ready when your dream opportunity arises.”

Speed Networking was a huge hit.  Like speed dating you get 3 minutes to talk to a stranger, in this case professional women in STEM.  Ask anything, from career paths & education to confidence, it’s all about finding your voice.  Some girls said they’d not had the opportunity just to talk in this way before.  Top tip if you are running a session, once the chat gets going no one wants to stop – so a big GONG is the best way to get people’s attention!

5. “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing”

What would inspire you to spend your time attending or volunteering at Monster Confidence?   Besides learning – it’s LOTS of fun!

  • Purple wigs suit everyone. EVERYONE! FACT! But they need a lot of maintenance when being sent around the UK.  Other purple accessories included nails, chokers and even a group of 20 girls in purple school uniforms.
  • Social media lit up!  See this Storify of the Glasgow event.  The first ever Stemettes custom Snapchat Geofilter was a hit.
  • As part of icebreaking,  various STEM “bands” were created along with the name of their No 1 hit single, band names and custom dance moves.  None of them have yet been signed to a major label…YET.

“A fantastic day full of joyful mutual inspiration and motivation” said Jen Loveday of TaxCalc. And if you’re thinking about your styling for next year, MAC do a fabulous range of purple lipsticks.

6. Create the future you want

A big reason to study and work in STEM is to have a voice in the products and solutions that improve our world.

As the lovely people at Swarm say, “A large proportion of consumers of technology are women.  Yet they are under-utilised and poorly represented within the profession…there are major opportunities for women to enter the industry and provide a sought after, new perspective to the challenges faced.”

So if you have ideas on how to design spacesuits for women, or apps that help women in the developing world, this IS the place for you.

7. Bringing women together as a large group is exciting and empowering

When people started arriving at the first event in Glasgow, teamStemette were pretty excited and nervous to be kicking-off, and many of the girls coming in were unsure and hesitant.

3 hours later in the room was transformed with noise, questions and opinions.  Check out Kara talking for the first time in front of 200 people!  

8. Want to inspire young women into STEM careers?  There are a million ways to help!

Rosie is a biology student, here’s her behind-the-scenes snapshot of getting ready for Monster Confidence!  Whether it’s tweeting, Snapchatting, becoming a mentor, blogging – everyone has something to contribute to making STEM accessible.  

We’ll be looking for speakers and volunteers for Monster Confidence 2017 – back, bigger than ever and visiting new cities.

MonsterConfidence was a collaboration between Monster UK and Stemettes in the Autumn of 2016 and will be returning next year. Venues and details will be updated shortly on monsterconfidence.co.uk, images are up on our Flickr. If you’d like to attend as a company, then drop us a line on stemettes@gmail.com

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