Initiative aims to address UK STEM educational divide

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Ciena and not-for-profit organisation, Academy Achievers are collaborating to help close the digital and educational gap among students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. 

Academy Achievers was set up to help underserved students from diverse backgrounds to socialise, learn and work together to critically solve problems through its immersive programs. It is committed to equipping these students, especially women ages 14 to 19, with the confidence and skills needed to thrive in a digitally connected environment through educational equality. This collaboration is designed to allow these young people to explore the world of STEM related careers.

As part of its digital inclusion program, Ciena will provide 400 laptops for use by students at each of the 20 selected schools in the Newham and Lewisham boroughs. Additionally, the company will work with Academy Achievers to create mentorship sessions for the students with Ciena volunteers, and host hands-on training opportunities at its local offices and lab facilities.

Paulette Watson, managing director and founder at Academy Achievers said: ‘Giving all children the opportunity to receive a quality education is the main goal of Academy Achievers. We work hard to provide our students with the tools and guidance they need to be confident in themselves, as well as succeeding in the world of STEM.’

Virginie Hollebecque, vice president, EMEA at Ciena added: ‘Ciena’s digital inclusion program seeks to bridge the digital connectivity, access and skills divide that exists in our communities. Working with Academy Achievers allows us to advance our shared mission to provide necessary digital skills for today’s world, while promoting equity and opportunity for students.’


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