A TAUNTON scientist is working to encourage young pupils into future science careers.

Sariqa Wagley, a research biologist who works at the University of Exeter, visited Staplegrove Church School on Friday (September 14) to take part in a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workshop. She has been volunteering her time for the last five years going into school to encourage students into STEM careers.

She specifically hopes to inspire female students to be interested in science and technology.

She said: "Women make up 14 per cent of all people working in STEM based jobs in the UK despite being half the workforce. When you ask children in a primary school class to draw what they think a scientist or engineer look like most of the class will draw a man.

"If we want to bring more women into the STEM based workforce we need to break down these gender perceptions as early as in primary school."

During her visit to Staplegrove Church School and carried out a microbe’s workshop with the key stage 2 children.

She added: "It is really important to me to demonstrate the fun, interesting and exciting part of science to children and I hope that seeing a female scientist will empower the girls in the class and help broaden their participation in science subjects.

Ms Wagley and her team will be attending an event at Princesshay Square, Exeter, on September 22 from 1-4pm to further promote their inspiring work.