Digital Her, a scheme from digital and technology trade body, Manchester Digital, was recently launched to address the shortage of women working in the region’s digital and tech industry. The programme will cover all ten Greater Manchester boroughs via a series of roadshows that will to inspire more young women into tech careers.
The scheme, sponsored by BJSS, GCHQ and Auto Trader, will kick off in Oldham in February 2019. It will engage with 1200 female students per year by introducing them to role-models and letting them get hands-on experience through workshops. According to Manchester Digital’s Skills Audit, only 19% of technical roles within the digital sector are occupied by women. The scheme has been heavily backed by members of Manchester Digital who have signed up as role models or have ring-fenced work experience placements for girls.
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, 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.”
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