The Digital Her: Inspire & Empower Roadshow will visit each of Manchester's ten boroughs with the purpose of inspiring over 1200 school girls to consider a future within digital and technology.
The initiative, launched by Manchester Digital, is part of Digital Her – a programme that aims to tackle the shortage of women employed in the region’s digital and tech industry.
Working alongside education providers, local employers, industry role models and event sponsors BJSS, GCHQ, Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and Auto Trader, the programme will look to engage with young women in their own local areas.
The first roadshow, taking place in Oldham’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, will empower more young women into considering tech careers by connecting them with Digital Her ambassadors, giving them hands-on experience via a series of roadshows and also the opportunity to take up ringfenced work placements with local employers.
The scheme was launched on the back of Manchester Digital’s 2018 Skills Audit finding that only 19% of technical roles within the digital sector are occupied by women.
Katie Gallagher, Managing Director at Manchester Digital said:
“Manchester Digital firmly believe that the only way we can solve the current skills shortage is by connecting industry to education and part of that is about inspiring young women to take up careers in digital and tech. We are very pleased to have BJSS, Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), Auto Trader and GCHQ on board as partners for our Digital Her programme. We are lucky to be home to a number of progressive and forward-thinking companies who are committed to working with us to make a difference and ensure that our industry is inclusive and diverse.
Jane Fitzmaurice, Employer Brand Manager at Auto Trader said “We are incredibly excited to work with Manchester Digital and help launch the Digital Her programme. Through this fantastic initiative, we hope to reach even more young women and showcase all the amazing aspects of the technology industry.”
A spokesperson from GCHQ said “Since GCHQ was formed nearly 100 years ago our workforce has harnessed the ingenuity and innovation that STEM skills bring to our work. We are proud to be involved with the Digital Her Roadshow and we see initiatives like this as fundamental to empower young women to take up STEM at school and hopefully continue it into university and their careers.
For our next century, as we continue to face new technological challenges, we know that having a diverse workforce and inclusive culture is vital to keeping the UK safe. We can only do this by inspiring women to get into STEM and we’re excited to work closely with Manchester Digital, to make that happen.”
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead on Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, said: “There’s an alarming under-representation of women in the digital and tech sector.
“We need to work towards making tech culture, in general, more inclusive for women so we can put this imbalance right.
“This not only includes encouraging more women to take up STEM-related subjects at GCSE and A-Level but also looking at the industry and businesses within it and challenging them to do more to put this right.”
Matt Whalley, Head of Delivery for Manchester, comments: “Here at BJSS we are proud to be a huge advocate for diversity in the technology sector. We are pleased that Digital Her is joining our portfolio of award-winning CSR partners, that promote our shared values of digital diversity and help shape the exciting future of technology in the North.”
If you are a Greater Manchester school or business that would like to get involved, please visit Digital Her for more details or contact Manchester Digital's Talent and Skills Manager, Emma Grant, directly.