TU Dublin’s Convene project spotlighted at the Her STEM Skills

30 Jun, 2021

TU Dublin’s Human Capital Initiative Convene project was spotlighted at the Her STEM Skills on Wednesday 30th June 2021. Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science Simon Harris TD launched the Expert Think-In for Action event.

The event, organised by Women In Technology & Science, Ireland (WITS) and the Department for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science (DFHERIS), brought together senior leaders in enterprise, academia, government and other stakeholders to contribute their expertise and insight into how we can support more women into STEM careers, identifying new ways of supporting career and skills development. 

Professor Anne Greene, Enterprise Partnership Lead at TU Dublin Convene, presented the CONVENE spotlight on “An Accelerated Skills Hub for Aspiring Female Leaders in Digital Transformation” with Siobhan Dean from IBEC.  “The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions are important to the vitality and success of a nation,” said Professor Anne Greene. “The Gender Pay Gap report (2021) calls out AI, Cloud Technology & Engineering as chronically underrepresented by women. New technology and systems have changed the current labour market in Ireland and left a demand for STEM professionals to fill the roles that are expected to be created. However, for many women in STEM, particularly in SMEs, continued personal development is a big ask in terms of time and funding. We need to ensure that our talent pipeline is fit for the future”.

Addressing the ‘Glass Ceiling’ challenge - increasing the percentage of females transitioning from middle to senior management roles - is critical in creating an inclusive and diverse STEM workforce in Ireland. “Research undertaken in the higher education sector, for example, suggests that this key career transition requires both skills development and confidence-building in the system,” said Professor Sarah Jane Delaney, Professor of Inclusive Computer Science at TU Dublin.

Our response is to convene an ecosystem of key stakeholders to deliver a pilot Accelerated Skills Hub for Digital Transformation for Aspiring Female Leaders in the Bio-Pharma sector. The pilot will be implemented, evaluated and delivered in 2022.

It builds upon the Convene project, which was awarded funding of €17.5 million under the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 Fund announced by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, in 2020. Led by Technological University Dublin, in collaboration with University College Dublin Innovation Academy, Convene is transforming university-enterprise engagement and creating a shared learning platform at the intersection of enterprise, education, research and innovation. As one of its new models for university enterprise engagement, an ecosystem will be convened for this Glass Ceiling challenge, with key stakeholders detailed above and more to be confirmed.

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Championing an equal opportunities approach and informed by a Biopharmaceutical sectoral needs analysis, the Accelerated Skills Hub will deliver targeted micro-credentials for digital transformation skills and leadership capacity. The key cohort is aspiring leadership females in middle management roles in STEM sectors; however, this is also relevant to additional cohorts such as (i) Decision-makers and leaders who require “just enough” training to be impactful and credible in their roles and (ii) Remote Workers seeking new career pathways enabled by post-pandemic opportunities.

“The Convene response is different in that it adopts a sector-informed response,” says Dr Deirdre Lillis, Convene Lead at TU Dublin. Building on research already completed, Convene will deliver a sector and cohort needs analysis for digital transformation in the Pharma sector by accessing professional networks and bringing together skills providers in education and enterprise. Professional networks will be accessed to recruit target cohorts (middle managers, returners, decision-makers and remote workers). “Convene also co-creates the response with enterprise and will deliver Digital Transformation skills and leadership capacity micro-credentials with a practical hands-on emphasis.”


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