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National Grid urges more women to pursue net zero challenge

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National Grid urges more women to pursue net zero challenge as the UK faces a green skills gender challenge

The National Grid recently highlighted the need for more women with green skills, with a call  to embrace the net zero challenge and explore a potential career in STEM related industries.

In the UK, the net zero transition will generate thousands of new green jobs, but a study by Boston Consulting Group suggests that by 2030, only 25% of green jobs will go to women. If this figure becomes true, progress toward gender equality will be delayed by up to 15 years. Current data suggests that the UK is experiencing a gender-green skills gap. The figures for women in STEM-related careers remain low, with women making up only 26% of the UK STEM workforce. There has only been a 5% increase in women working in STEM since 2016, and according to STEM Women, we are unlikely to see equal gender representation in STEM careers until 2070. Studies suggest, however, that more than 80% of young girls are actively keen to pursue a career that positively contributes to society, and over 80% want to support the UK in achieving its net zero target. 

On the recent International Day of the Girl, National Grid announced a call for girls to embrace STEM-based careers and consider becoming future leaders of the UK energy transition. National Grid also confirmed its plans to increase STEM-based apprenticeships in 2024 by 18%, equating to four times the 2020 levels. Recent research indicates that the UK energy industry must fill 400,000 jobs to achieve net zero emission targets by 2050. 

To reinforce the importance of more girls pursuing STEM-based careers, National Grid delegated selected business areas to two teenage girls as part of the Global Girls Takeover Event. Coordinated by Plan International, the event encouraged action in eliminating the barriers women continue to experience in making meaningful contributions in the workplace. At the event, one girl became the President of the National Grid Electricity Transmission business for the day, and another represented the President of the National Grid in New York, managing a session with female leaders and speaking at a team summit focusing on clean energy achievements and goals. 

The National Grid recently explained how critical it is to inspire young women to explore and consider energy careers, to showcase and celebrate everything they can experience and achieve. National Grid is at the core of the energy transition in the UK and requires creative thinkers, innovators and skills to lead and support the country on its journey to net zero.

At the event, the two delegates participated in board meetings and steering an employee resource group session focusing on delivering an inclusive workplace for women. The delegates explained that the role of the National Grid is essential and emphasised how motivated they were to choose a career that will make a real impact on the world. 

Despite some clear progress, research by Plan International UK suggests that 49% of young females do not believe a senior leadership role in STEM is possible, and 39% feel they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they pursued a career in this industry. However, the number of women in STEM apprenticeships at National Grid has doubled since 2020, with women making up 24% of new intakes. 

Alice Delahunty, the President of National Grid Electricity Transmission, explained that it is critical to inspire young women to consider a career in energy and highlight every possible opportunity. The Girls takeover event highlighted what an energy career is like, which is vital for attracting the next generation. Delahunty stresses how critical it is to continue pushing boundaries and inspire more women to enter the energy industry. 

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International, explained that the takeover event represented an inspiring celebration of the incredible potential of girls. Talent, ideas and strength of women can transform the world, but change isn’t happening quickly enough. Caldwell hopes that International Day of the Girl becomes more than just a once a year event, but a driving force to create a world where every girl can fulfil her potential. 

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