An initiative to get more women into tech has managed to reach its target of placing 100 female students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related work experience placements.
The Next Tech Girls campaign has ambitions of motivating 5,000 females to pursue a technology driven career in the UK by 2020. Companies that are providing these students with work experience opportunities include Hive, Virgin Money and Softwire.
Not only does the Next Tech Girls incentive address the digital skills gap in the UK, it also addresses the small 17 per cent workforce of tech female professionals.
Programme manager at Next Tech Girls and director at Empiric, Steve Brown, said: ”I’m delighted although not altogether surprised that this initiative has already been such a success. The talent shortages that the tech and digital sectors are currently facing are intrinsically linked with female under-representation, and we are not alone in seeking a solution to this challenge.
"I am pleased to report that interest from clients looking to host students has been greater than we’d ever anticipated and I’d like to thank all the organisations involved – without your time and resources this would not be possible.”
The following Next Tech Girls campaign will encourage numerous educational institutions and employers to place young female students into relevant work experience opportunities. Currently, there are 100 students from across London who are taking ICT or Computing at GCSE level.
Brown also said: “Less than a year after inception, Next Tech Girls has already proved that there is a real appetite to tap into fresh young talent pools – the only piece missing from the jigsaw was a facilitator. We’re currently applying improvements from feedback and automating processes to ensure the initiative can be scaled to meet future demand. Applying a digital by default methodology and improving through iteration. We’re already working on Next Tech Girls 2017 and well on target to secure 5,000 placements by 2020.”
Despite the efforts of programmes like Next Tech Girls, the Joint Council for Qualifications has revealed that young girls who reject math and technology subjects at A-Level are putting themselves at a disadvantage.
With the number of female students opting in to study STEM slowly increasing, it is not enough to offset the 0.8 per cent drop in the overall numbers of female students according to the analytical educational body.
PCR’s third annual Women of the Year awards takes place on October 14th to celebrate women in the UK technology market.
Image credit: Tamer Tatlici (Freeimages.com)