An open door to STEM

abstract image of face with cosmic universe, tree, stars and a planet in the background | STEM

How can we nurture the next generation of enterprise STEM talent? Richard Pepper investigates.


Imagine a world where the next generation of enterprise computing masterminds are born not in college labs or corporate boardrooms, but way back in the sandpits and treehouses of their childhood homes.

Early exposure to these fields is like sneaking veggies into a meal – it’s essential for growth, even if it needs to be disguised as something more exciting. Just like convincing a child that broccoli is a mini-tree for their toy dinosaur, making STEM and in particular technology subjects appealing from a young age is key.


From little learners to big innovators

Early engagement in STEM isn’t just about creating a workforce; it’s about inspiring the next Tony Stark or Shuri from Black Panther. This is where daydreamers become visionaries and doodlers become designers. The younger generations tend to digest information quickly and move on. The various forms of education need to play catch up, transforming from a snore factory to an emporium where Gene Wilder, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, or Robin Williams, in Dead Poets Society, brings life to education at any age.


When done well, introducing kids to technology is like showing them a magic trick. Their eyes light up, amazed at what these tools can do. Having worked in the Oracle ecosystem since 1995, I still see Oracle as the cool uncle, telling them, “One day, you too could be a wizard, but instead of a wand, you’ll use a keyboard or a GenAI front end.”

Excitingly, with the right opportunities in place, enterprise technology giants like Oracle become the gateway to careers that haven’t even been invented yet.


Opening the door to a STEM career

Looking a few years ahead to entering the workforce, it’s become clear that to keep the magic alive, businesses need to use the right technology but, also, they need to create an open door for the next generation to upskill on it.

Speaking to one of our own from Veran Performance, Reuben Massay, explains, “As a Gen-Z, I grew up with digital devices, but as a generation, our ability to use and develop business technology is of serious concern. By next year Gen-Z (people born 1997-2012) will make up 25 percent of the workforce, so improving the digital literacy and the understanding of the needs of Gen-Z is crucial to the success of all businesses.”

Nobody should be a gatekeeper of knowledge in the STEM space, but instead behave more like tour guides through the land of innovation. When it comes to opening these doors for new entrants, one such community is really starting to bear fruit: Oracle’s intern and Generation Oracle (GenO) career initiatives are giving new entrants the opportunity to shine where they may not have had the prerequisites or openings to do so.

A career program that invites industry entrants of all backgrounds to immerse themselves in all areas of STEM within Oracle, GenO has over doubled in size since its first cohort two and a half years ago. It has expanded its training scope from its original 200 EMEA members to now seeing 4-500 new starters, cross-pillar, in this year alone, as well as expanding to 40+ EMEA countries.

Meeting with the inspirational Antonine Gibbons who runs the EMEA GenO career program, someone who dedicates her time in a rare altruistic way to help others, she gave her take on the next generation of STEM:

“As a new generation enters the workforce during this transformative age, they are redefining what it means to be a leader and they are reshaping the working world – we see it daily within the GenO community. They care more about having a sense of purpose and a positive impact on society and this is all amongst a period of automation where turbulent external forces are at play.”

Image of Antonine Gibbons, Oracle | STEMThe best thing we can do is to ask them to challenge our status quo and ask the hard questions to make their mark on projects that matter to our customers – Antonine Gibbons, Oracle

For Gibbons, there are a few key areas that businesses can support Gen-Z and beyond:

“Teams need to be adaptable and resilient as well as creative. Technical skills are crucial, but we put a lot of focus in the human qualities and transferable skills like communication, adaptability, collaboration. The best thing we can do to support our GenOs is to ask them to challenge our status quo and ask the hard questions to make their mark on projects that matter to our customers.”

Engaging the next generation in STEM is critical; it’s about building a world where learning is not just about filling heads with facts, but igniting imaginations with possibilities. The STEM field currently has a diversity palette similar to that of an old black-and-white movie. Engaging a diverse group of young learners is like adding color to that movie. It’s not just about painting a pretty picture; it’s about enriching the entire scene. By increasing diverse perspectives in STEM, we will foster more innovations, as varied and vibrant as the world itself. That’s also what UKOUG hopes to support with its new partnership with The Prince’s Trust too.

We are living in a world of turbulence and uncertainty in the short to medium-term. By infusing education with fun, diversity and real-world application, we’re not just preparing these young minds for a future career, we’re setting the stage for them to reimagine and reinvent the world.


Generation Oracle keeps on growing 


Stephanie Ijeomah 3rd cohort – GenO cloud platform rep (Ireland based)

Oracle has participated in driving diversity especially with the creation of the GenO program. As a GenO alumni, Oracle opened the doors to opportunities for people of different backgrounds in terms of knowledge, culture and exposure.

This has not only created a foundation for people that never saw themselves in tech, but also in turn drove success to Oracle’s global growth.”


Izzy Osborne – 4th cohort – GenO apps consultant (UK based)

“The GenO program provides a great entry into tech for people from all backgrounds and enriches the perspectives within the industry as a result. It’s exciting to see how this potential will be harvested as Generation Oracle grows.”


Mariana Da Costa Duarte – 3rd cohort – GenO HCM consultant (UK based)

“The program attracts new talent from all walks of life across EMEA, introducing us to different ways of thinking, working and problem solving. Being a part of the GenO program has provided me the opportunity to learn new skills that are invaluable and which I will be able take on with me throughout my career at Oracle. The program promotes innovation and creativity and that in itself is priceless. I believe the results speak for themselves with regards to the benefits of having a diverse program like the GenO Program.”


Tosia Ciszek – 4th cohort – GenO consultant (UK based)

“Being able to collaborate and network with individuals all across EMEA, who are also at the start of their Oracle journey, has exposed me to an incredible range of diverse talent. The GenO program encourages us to not only learn from each other but also share experiences, so that we continuously develop ourselves to be more inclusive.”



Richard Pepper is head of Oracle transformation, Veran Performance and president, UK Oracle User Group.