Tech She Can was created in 2018 with 18 founding organisations following a research initiative into why girls and young women are less likely to study technology-based subjects, and pursue tech careers. According to PwC’s Women in tech: Time to close the gender gap report, only 3% of girls say a career in technology is their first choice.
Amongst its many initiatives, Tech She Can piloted its very first apprenticeship scheme during the pandemic, in partnership with Corndel and Zoopla. Zoopla took onboard 10 trainee software engineers who participated in a 10-week virtual bootcamp. Learnings from this recruitment process and findings from our successful boot camp have been used to help Centrica increase their share of female engineering apprentices to 40%.
Other initiatives include the launch of an online portal – called Tech We Can – following two successful pilots with schools across the UK. The online portal provides lesson plans for teachers which can be taught to girls and boys aged 9-14, with the aim of inspiring school students across the country to consider a career in technology, and boost the diversity of future technologists. Tech We Can now reaches 630 schools across the UK. During the pandemic, Tech We Can at Home was launched giving parents and carers access to lesson plans and a series of shorter online sessions, ‘Tech Tuesdays’ were run for 10 consecutive weeks, designed to be viewed on demand in the classroom or at home. There have now been over 1,300 home users of the lesson plans and over 7,500 total views of the Tech Tuesdays. Students and home schoolers have taken part across the globe from the UK to Australia, Greece, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, the USA and Qatar.
Sheridan Ash MBE and Dr Claire Thorne are the new co-CEOs of the Tech She Can charity. Sheridan Ash is PwC UK’s Technology Innovation Leader and was recognised with an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to young girls and women through technology. She explains the opportunity that charitable status provides: “Tech She Can is going from strength to strength. It is inspiring girls and young women by showing them the exciting opportunities provided by technology and the great careers it offers. At the same time it is addressing the problem of skills shortages in technology and giving voice to female perspectives in the development and use of the technologies that we all use. By becoming a charity we will supercharge all the determination and passion that our members bring and the collaboration that underpins all we do. Our objective is for women to play an equal role in creating the technology that shapes our world.”
Dr Claire Thorne has a background in innovation strategy, R&D and commercialisation spanning universities, government and business.“With charitable status and a renewed purpose, an extensive and influential member base across all sectors, and a platform reaching schools UK-wide, I’m excited to join Tech She Can to co-lead the team at a time of such opportunity and momentum.
“As a young girl, technology careers and the routes into them were invisible to me; the guidance wasn’t there and today’s role models were only then breaking through. Now, as a woman in tech, a returner and a mum, I see first-hand the urgent need to inspire our next generation when they ask ‘what can I be when I grow up?’, to equip their schools and parents with the technology literacy they need to be able to make those routes a reality, and to value and retain our female talent, against the odds.”
Today, Tech She Can is a charity with over 200 member organisations. Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries welcomes the work being done by Tech She Can and its member organisations, to help the next generation of women and girls to pursue careers in technology. “Helping a broader range of people get the skills they need to work in technology is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense. I am delighted that Tech She Can’s new charity status will help its efforts to boost diversity in the sector.”
For more information, please visit the Tech She Can website: http://www.techshecan.org/