H&M has launched its first ever STEM initiative to “inspire women and non-binary people to reach for roles in STEM.”
The program is set to launch in February 2022, in partnership with not-for-profit charity Stemettes.
The focus of the initiative will be ‘sustainability and style’ with participants exploring STEM’s contribution to a more sustainable fashion future through a panel event, a hackathon and one-to-one mentoring by H&M’s STEM role models. These mentors come from a range of fields including artificial intelligence, customer centric technology, assortment and product development.
For the fashion retailer, the program marks a “key step” in its quest to become more inclusive and diverse.
“By taking a relevant and holistic approach, we hope to positively impact the communities in which we work and live by investing in young women and non-binary people, building new connections and expanding our focus on the issues that most affect diversity and inclusion within STEM, including representation,” the company said.
H&M’s partnership with Stemettes in the UK will be followed by a series of STEM programs being rolled out across the world by H&M Group. These global initiatives will help the brand “level the STEM playing field and create a more inclusive and diverse fashion environment for everyone.”
“Our ambition within H&M is to promote equity, diversity and inclusion for all our colleagues and customers. This is the reason we’re excited to collaborate with Stemettes – an award-winning social enterprise working to inspire and support young women and non-binary people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers,” H&M UK and Ireland county HR manager Kirsty Finn-Murphy said.
“We believe our H&M role models collaborating with these young talents will inspire them to choose a career within STEM.”
Stemettes chief executive officer and co-founder Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE added: “STEM skills are needed for so many jobs today, and STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths skills are needed for the jobs that are creating the future. We’re excited to be working with H&M to bring these career opportunities to the masses.”
“We have a duty to show the sustainability, creativity and teamwork at play in the fashion industry – all skills which are much needed in the next generation of innovators who will build & lead the future. We can’t wait to connect, inform and engage young people with all that STEM has to offer at H&M.”