Women in STEM

Mentorship to encourage more female youth entering STEM sectors

The ILO applies a mentorship in its training programme to encourage more female students entering and participating in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related sectors.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 07 April 2021
Siti Rasyidah Nurainiyah found ways to help her mentees completing the full training provided by the ILO in collaboration with Clevio Coder Camp training institution and Axioo Class Programme (ACP) under the titled: “Women Digital Development Skill Up”. Held from mid-October 2020 to the beginning of 2021, these six-batch training aimed to provide web-development training for female students and graduates of vocational schools.

Siti Rasyidah Nurainiyah, teacher and mentor from SMK Azzainiyyah, Sukabumi, West Java
Siti, a teacher from SMK Azzainiyyah, Sukabumi, West Java, was one of the two facilitators from the school that is also an Islamic boarding school. They already complemented the training as coaches from Clevio and ACP before being assigned to mentor the students to ensure they well receive the training materials and are able to apply them. 

“My students are from accounting and software engineering programmes. I need to find ways to make sure that all the participating students could complete training successfully,” she said.

We group the students who are considered as fast learners with those who are relatively slower learners. Thus, they can help and learn from one another."

Siti Rasyidah Nurainiyah, teacher and mentor from SMK Azzainiyyah
Together with her colleague, another facilitator, she developed several strategies. One of them was to map out the capabilities of her students and developed a peer-based tutoring system. “We group the students who are considered as fast learners with those who are relatively slower learners. Thus, they can help and learn from one another,” Siti shared the strategy.

The second strategy was to organize a cross-major program by having, for example, students of accounting major with website development and computer programming as their minor course. The third one was to adapt the competency test for software engineering programme.

“We now include CodeIgniter and Laravel, not only Javascript programme, in test. As a result, I have to adapt myself and have to learn some of the training materials as I am not yet familiar with the new software. Thus, the strategies do not only to help my students, but also help me improving myself as a teacher and mentor,” Siti added.

Mentorship for a greater participation

A similar mentorship journey was also shared by Heriyanto, a teacher in SMK Insan Kreatif, Cibinong, West Java. He also faced similar challenges. Out of 20 students under his mentorship, only three completed level 1 of the training and graduated to level 2. Two of them were alumni and the remaining one was an active student in the school.

Female students learning ICT at the Islamic boarding school
However, he continue to encourage his students to never stop learning, especially considering the rapid technological advancement. “If we don’t follow, we will be left behind,” said Heri to his students.

Through this mentorship programmes, conducted by the teachers to their students in their schools, we hope that all students participating in our web-training development will have a good understanding and be able to apply what they have learnt."

Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO Project Officer for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
In addition to digital materials in Learning Management System (LMS) used during the training, Heri suggested for the availability of the printed training materials. “The internet connection is still a main problem faced by the students. Thus, the printed version of the modules is not only important for students but also for facilitators. By having the printed version available at all times, both students and facilitators can come back and read the training materials at any time,” he explained.

Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO Project Officer for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), said that mentorship plays a key role to provide a greater access for female students who aspire to work in STEM related fields. Mentorship also helps schools to improve the ICT curriculum to be in line with the needs of relevant industries.

“Through this mentorship programmes, conducted by the teachers to their students in their schools, we hope that all students participating in our web-training development will have a good understanding and be able to apply what they have learnt. The students will also have a chance to openly discuss with their mentors their challenges and ways to help them continue learning and growing,” said Navitri, adding that the mentorship programmes were also a way to ensure equal access to female students for a greater participation of women in STEM.

This activity was carried out by the ILO through the Women's Workforce Readiness and Development Program in STEM, funded by J.P. The Morgan Chase Foundation, seeking to provide women in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines with training in non-technical and technical skills related to STEM, employability and leadership.