Girls in tech

Students participating in the #GirlTechLCR event

Region's tech firms inspire female students to 'Go Digital'

A number of tech firms from across the Leeds City Region have joined forces to encourage female students from six Yorkshire schools to consider a career in tech.

A total of 75 female students from six Yorkshire schools have been motivated to consider careers in the world of digital following an activity day supported by tech firms from across the Leeds City Region.

#GirlTechLCR was hosted by technology enabled language services provider thebigword and telecoms operator aql, together with social enterprise Ahead Partnership.

The event forms part of Ahead Partnership’s Make the Grade programme which has supported more than 100,000 young people to date with real-life, hands-on experiences designed by local employers.

Following the event, there was a 95% increase recorded in the number of students considering careers in the digital sector, which is an industry set to grow by over 15% in the region alone over the next decade.

The day started with questions from the students to a panel of female role models in tech from thebigword, Sky, Ideas That Work, NHS Digital and Emerald Publishing. 

The students also took part in a series of interactive workshops with employers from around the region including thebigword, Siemens, BJSS, Sky, NHS Digital, Smoothwall, Ten10 and the Co-operative Group.

The workshops covered a range of sectors in digital such as ecommerce, fintech, new technologies and healthcare, and were designed to show the students first-hand what a career in digital involves.

Mark Clayton, CTO at thebigword, said: “I am pleased to see the significant increase in the number of students considering a career in digital. Hopefully we will one day see applicants who came to this event and were inspired to study technology subjects. I am delighted to support this project and I look forward to our next event in April.”

Sarah Tulip, chief operating officer at aql, added: “It was great to see so many young girls excited about a career in tech. The North has huge potential to become a digital innovation hub, but we need a representative workforce to get to that next level – to make sure we’re hearing from all groups and voices in shaping that innovation.

"Events like this play an important role in showing girls the opportunities available to them, and that tech isn’t just a boys’ club any more – there are women doing amazing things in tech, and this next generation can kick that into overdrive.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s chief executive, said: “The number of students considering a career within the digital and tech sector almost doubled as a direct result of attending this event. This shows just how effective it is when employers show young women the types of opportunities available to them.

"We’d like to thank all the employers, panellists and volunteers that were involved in making #GirlTechLCR happen and we are looking forward to staging this event again for yet more girls in April this year.”