YOUNG women from Pembrokeshire schools have been encouraged to study science, technology, engineering and maths to address the gender imbalance in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Fifty year 8 students from Milford Haven School, Ysgol Dewi Sant, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, Tasker Milward School, and Greenhill School met at Llanelli’s Parc y Scarlets on October 4 for the ‘Tackling Gender Inequality’ event which promoted careers in the STEM subjects.

The students met and trained with female Scarlets players and coaches at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli before taking part in hands-on activities with ECITB and Valero employees.

On October 5 the students visited Pembrokeshire College’s new CAMPUS 6 in Haverfordwest, followed by a tour of Pembroke Refinery.

Across the two days the students were also visited by Mid & West Wales Assembly Member Eluned Morgan, who took part in the rugby skills session at Parc y Scarlets, and Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science Julie James AM who joined the students at Pembroke Refinery.

In 2015 only 220 female students over the age of 16 across Wales, out of a cohort of 38,000 (0.6%), opted to study engineering and only 65 (0.2%) chose to study for construction industry qualifications.

The scheme was run by Valero Pembroke Refinery, in partnership with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), Pembrokeshire College and Scarlets Rugby.

Valero Vice President and General Manager Ed Tomp, said: “As an industry we need access to a balanced and talented workforce, which we cannot do without seeing more female pupils taking up STEM subjects at school.”

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “The ECITB has sponsored the event to raise female students’ awareness of the opportunities available to them to embark on for exciting and varied careers in the industry.”

David Evans, Assistant Principal at Pembrokeshire College said: “We are delighted to be part of this important initiative. We know through experience that female students often excel in STEM subjects and that positive experiences at an early age are key to engaging female pupils in this important sector.”