Success for female students in STEM studies at University Centre Leeds

The success of female students has been noted in recent results in STEM degree courses at University Centre Leeds.

There were plenty of high performers, among all genders, graduating in the fields of Biomedical Sciences, Computing, Engineering, Cyber Security, and Computer Games this year.

Some of the highest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) achievers were studying in digital fields such as cyber security, networks and applied computing.

The success of female students was particularly notable, with nearly two thirds (60 per cent) achieving a First Class Honours degree and 91 per cent successfully completing their studies.

It comes as women are under-represented in courses and employment in STEM disciplines, which in recent years have become more lucrative as there is a desire to nurture future technical and industry workers, scientists, inventors and engineers.

Dean of Higher Education at University Centre Leeds, Janet Faulkner, said: “We have had amazing results from all of our STEM degree students and it is particularly heartening to see how female students have been excelling in these courses.

“The push to achieve more equal representation in STEM subjects at all levels of education continues but results like these show how much progress is being made. We’re looking forward to welcoming more students, of all genders, in this year and sharing our expertise with them and supporting them as they embark on their chosen degrees.”


One student is Ellen Hudson-Barrett who progressed from level 3 at Technology Campus, through a Foundation Degree, to gain a First Class degree on the BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Networks.

She had sales and finance jobs while she was studying and is now herself looking to go into teaching. She has enrolled on the PGCE course at University Centre Leeds and will be doing her placement back at UCL.

Ms Hudson-Barrett said: “I have been studying at UC Leeds and Leeds City College for the last five years. The support I have received from my tutors throughout has been excellent. They gave me the reassurance and confidence I needed to achieve the best of my ability.

“Having completed the final year of my degree during the pandemic, I was worried that this was going to have an enormous impact on my grade. However, my tutors continued with their guidance and support remotely which allowed me to focus and have the resources I needed to complete my coursework.

“I have really enjoyed my time with the college and the university centre and feel they have not only helped me with my academic achievements but have provided an environment where I could develop and grow my confidence in my professional and personal life.

“I have been offered some amazing opportunities to fulfil my career goals and aspirations and am now studying for my PGCE through the college, with the hope of becoming a Higher and Further Education lecturer in the coming years.”

There is a national shortage of STEM skills which the government has recognised – and it acknowledges that a continuing under-representation of women is exacerbating the problem.

But it also notes that, as this year’s results at University Centre Leeds demonstrate, there is cause for optimism.

Between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1 per cent in the UK. Within the same period, the proportion of women entering full-time undergraduate courses taking STEM subjects increased from 33.6 per cent to 41.4 per cent.”

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