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E-MINISTER PRAISES THE 'WISE IN WALES' INITIATIVE AT INTERACTIVE WEBSITE LAUNCH

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The new 'WISE in Wales' interactive website was described as 'a major and practical step forward in equal opportuni...
The new 'WISE in Wales' interactive website was described as 'a major and practical step forward in equal opportunities' by assembly e-minister, Andrew Davies.
He was speaking today at the new WISE website launch at the St David's Hotel, Cardiff. The National Women into Science and Engineering (WISE) Campaign was launched in 1984 by the Engineering Council and the Equal Opportunities Commission to promote engineering as a suitable career for girls and young women.
The 'WISE in Wales' initiative followed this in 1992 and since then the committee has undertaken a number of awareness raising events which have lead to an increase in women studying engineering in higher education.
Addressing the launch Mr Davies said: 'This launch represents a major and practical step forward in equal opportunities. In Wales there are many women who may have taken a career break in order to bring up a family and may be in a position to return to work.
'The WISE in Wales website reflects a practical means by which such women can get themselves equipped with new technology skills and make themselves more employable to businesses.
'This launch reflects not only the national assembly's vision of building a modern, high tech enterprise economy but it also reflects the values which are central to that vision.
'The assembly's strategic document BetterWales.com and the partnership agreement 'Putting Wales First' reinforces our commitment to creating a strong, modern enterprise economy for Wales and highlights the vital role innovation and technology plays in this process.'
'One of the documents major themes is equal opportunities which is not a bolt-on element but is central to all we do. WISE, therefore is a perfect example of what we see as the way we want Wales to develop over the next decade.'
Highlighting the role that education plays he said: 'Education is also vital in improving the situation. We must encourage our young people to develop a keen interest in science and technology, whereby we focus their minds on the exciting challenges that this career path has to offer.
Initiatives such as WISE contribute to the assembly's strategic aims for e-commerce development by educating young people as to the vital role that technology will play in their future careers.
'But all of this cannot be achieved without equipping our workforce with appropriate skills and support mechanisms - Wales needs a skilled workforce which is ready and able to accept the challenges of new technologies.
'A workforce which is flexible and skilled has a significant advantage over a workforce which is flexible alone. This is why initiatives such as WISE are so important as they play a vital role in enhancing the economic prosperity of Wales in the future.'
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