Gen Up

Case study

Gen Up is a programme designed to create opportunities for young women aged 14-18 living in Scotland to think critically about the impact of gender on their career choices and decisions.

The programme aims to raise the aspirations of young women and increase their uptake of Modern Apprenticeships in gender segregated areas through supporting them to explore STEM careers and think about the application process.

Our aims

The idea for Gen Up came from learning about the very low numbers of young women taking up modern apprenticeships and the high numbers of women that drop out of STEM careers shortly after university. The need for a programme like Gen Up was also highlighted by the voices of young women who participated in the ‘Status of Young Women in Scotland 2015’ report.

Many young women mentioned their experiences in education, discussing gender-related barriers that they faced in school, college or university settings, and being discouraged from engaging in subjects of interest on the basis of gender.

The project aims to:

  • Encourage young women of school leaving age (15-18) to think about and apply for Modern Apprenticeships in the area of STEM
  • Create clearer progression routes for young women in Glasgow by developing and building our partnerships links with Skills Development Scotland, Colleges, local employers and training providers.

Gen Up ran in secondary schools over a four day period:

  • Day 1. Introduction to STEM and Modern Apprenticeships
  • Day 2. Immersion Day
  • Day 3. Field Trip – Looking at science
  • Day 4. Role models and Action planning

Current status

The positive impact of Gen Up was evident in a number of ways. The level of engagement was most notable, the girls were really involved in the different activities and conversations they took part in, sharing experiences, opinions and ideas. They expressed a wide range of thoughts and feelings and learned that it is okay to feel angry about things they find unfair and that they don’t need to passively accept it, they can do something to challenge it, either individually or collectively, and they felt empowered to do so.

The 50 young women we worked with were all from the same secondary school and were the girls who for a variety of reasons could not or chose not to go out on work experience that week. The pupils in the group were from a wide range of backgrounds and were of mixed academic ability.

Interestingly about half of the girls wanted to go to university and the other half to college, only one or two wanted to work or do a modern apprenticeship, mostly because they hadn’t heard of them before or been encourage to think about different routes into a career beyond university or college.

The programme was put on hold whilst we developed our YGirls programme for primary schools.

Next steps?

We would like to encourage people to visit our website and read our publications in particular our Evidencing Our Impact Reports.

We would like to be in a position to employ additional Tutors, this would enable us to roll out Gen Up across all of Glasgow. We are actively sourcing funding opportunities to fund additional delivery for this new programme for 2019/20. Thinking further ahead we would like to roll out our programme across all of Scotland.

Find out more