The purpose of the event is to inspire and encourage the next generation of women into careers in digital and tech. We aim to do this by bringing girls aged between 12-13 into contact with inspirational women who are already successful in the sector, to show them exactly what is possible.
Why? Because if she can see it, she can be it.
With that in mind, we asked Manchester Digital's Managing Director, Katie Gallagher, why she believes the event is important.
“Ensuring that the tech industry has a balanced and diverse workforce is vital to its continued success and growth; encouraging more women to take up jobs in the industry is a key part of that. Our members are committed to working with us to achieve this through our Digital Futures programme. We have many amazing female role models in the industry who want to help girls across Greater Manchester discover what their potential is.
It is important that we work collaboratively to amplify and align our messages, so we are delighted to be partnering with like-minded organisations, Innovate Her, Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) and STEM Ambassadors. Together we can make a real difference to the volume of girls considering careers in digital and tech.”
The event will be hosted by Manchester Digital and our event partners Innovate Her, MSI and STEM Ambassadors but is being made possible by the generous support of our sponsors Sainsbury’s, Money Supermarket Group and BookingGo.
We recently caught up with Sainsbury's Luciano Visentin, Money Supermarket Group's Anna Jakielaszek and BookingGo's Lyndsey Henderson, to find out why they're backing the event and their thoughts on how we encourage more young women into tech.
Q1. Why are you involved in Manchester Digital’s Ada Lovelace: The New Generation?
At Sainsbury’s, we want to support Manchester Digital's Ada Lovelace Day: The New Generation event and help encourage and inspire young girls to choose STEM subjects. We want to be able to raise the visibility of digital at Sainsbury’s. We have over 1000 colleagues across our different store support centres across the country working in various different roles in digital and technology.
BookingGo decided to sponsor Manchester Digital’s Ada Lovelace: The New Generation event because we’re one of the biggest technology employers in the North West so we feel it’s really important for us to be part of the local tech community. Also, as a business, we have a big focus on bringing more women into technology. We’ve realised there’s a huge skills shortage and we believe the only way to solve that for future generations is to get involved at school level, in inspiring girls – this seemed like a really good opportunity to do that.
We’re already doing a lot of work with Manchester Digital on other events but this, as a one-off event with a series of different activities sounded like a really exciting thing to be part of.
Anna, Money Supermarket Group
Money Supermarket are sponsoring Ada Lovelace: The New Generation because we’re truly passionate about the topic and about helping future generations of girls to enter the exciting world of tech.
Q2. What are you most looking forward to at the event?
I'm really excited about meeting the girls and understanding their ideas and seeing their enthusiasm for STEM subjects, and also being able to tell them about tech and how it is used in different industries.
We’re looking forward to seeing the 105 girls from all of these different schools coming to what is an amazing venue to work with some of the different tech companies from Manchester to gain a greater insight into what their future careers could be. It’s going to be a fun day, a really active day and if even a few of those girls go away inspired to think they might have a career in tech at the end of it, then all of the efforts will have been worth it.
Anna, Money Supermarket Group
I’m looking forward to working with the students, doing workshops with them and doing their experience day. We’ve done experience days with Manchester Digital for the Skills Festival and that was a great experience. You could see the involvement and engagement and the interactions, and some little sparkles happening. That’s always a good experience to be a part of.
Q3. What are you most looking forward to at the event?
In the digital industry we recognise there’s an issue with inspiring young people, especially girls, into choosing the STEM subjects. We need to do more in the industry to actually talk to the girls that are year 8 or below so that they can understand all the exciting opportunities there are within the digital business.
I think the industry can inspire more young girls into careers in digital and technology by being more accessible. I think there’s a perception, especially with girls that a career in technology is actually quite boring with everyone working individually. Actually, it's probably the most exciting industry to be in at the moment, it’s going through massive change, it’s really fast paced and its where the best careers are. I think we have a part to play in working with schools to educate them on the things we’re doing, and the different careers that are available and then by providing role models at things like Ada Lovelace: The New Generation – so girls can actually see women who’ve got those careers and have been successful in those careers. Those are the kinds of things that we’re concentrating on.
Anna, Money Supermarket Group
I think that industry can inspire more girls into digital and technology careers through events like this one and the other great work Manchester Digital does such as Digital Her and other initiatives. I think it's about raising awareness. There’s a lot of work to be done educating schools and addressing the topic directly. There are a lot of opportunities we can create ourselves by working with other employers in this space.
If you would like to find out more about other Digital Futures initiatives, learn how to become an ambassador, or are an educator looking for support, you can find further details here, or email [email protected].