BT, Ericsson, O2 and Vodafone have joined forces to introduce a new pilot mentoring scheme that they hope will encourage more girls to pursue a career in engineering science.
The new scheme, which aims to get more school girls opting for a profession based on skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), follows research which shows that only 9% of engineers in the UK are women.
The survey from the Institute of Engineering and Technology also revealed that 60% of parents said "they did not know how many opportunities there were for girls and women in engineering".
Women's networks from each of the four telecoms firms have come together on the pilot, working alongside Girls Talk London, an organisation which seeks to empower women to learn from others in senior roles in business.
An initial push for the scheme, called 'Step into STEM', yielded over 60 applications, which have been reviewed by Girls Talk London. The agency then conducted interviews with the candidates, resulting in 20 pupils being selected and subsequently matched with a mentor from each of the businesses involved.
The girls will receive one session a month with their mentor up until October, as well as a full week of work experience in July.
Paula Constant, chair of BT's Women's Network and director of Field, Business and Ethernet connections at Openreach believes the pilot has a good chance of changing the fact that only a minority of girls are going on to pursue careers that require STEM skills.
She said: "This issue needs to be addressed and we're really excited about the role we can play in inspiring and supporting female school leavers who may be considering a career in STEM. There are numerous opportunities at BT for women who want to pursue a career in engineering, cyber security, or technology."
Meanwhile, Vodafone Group head of Diversity & Inclusion Karina Govindji hopes the scheme will also raise awareness of engineering as a "credible, attractive career option for young women".