ASFA looks to inspire girls to pursue tech careers

Pupils from the Academy of St Francis of Assisi took part in Barclays’ IT Girls Allowed programme

Programming, cryptography and innovation are on the agenda at The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA), as Year 8 students took part in Barclays’ IT Girls Allowed programme.

Students visited The Barclays Technology Campus in Knutsford, Cheshire, for a full day of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)-related activities.

Barclays’ IT Girls Allowed programme looks to inspire young people with stories about women in technology, such as Ada Lovelace and the female operators at Bletchley Park during World War Two.

The project was created to directly address the lack of women who aspire to a career in technology.

During the events, Barclays’ volunteers share their professional expertise and skills with students, in a bid to encourage future female talent to join the profession and give them first-hand insights into technology careers in a fun and engaging way.

Participants complete plugged and unplugged activities including cryptography, programming and innovation. The first session, ‘Designing the Future’, saw ASFA students come up with ideas including a holographic teacher designed to help with homework.

In the afternoon session, the girls learned about cryptography by decoding jokes using different cyphers. The day ended with a session about programming robots. Starting off with a square motion, the Year 8 girls had to work out how to get the robot to make more complicated shapes.

Claire Findlay, Director of Global Apprenticeship Programmes, said: “Barclays has been working with various academic organisations in the North West with the objective of improving the skills of young people in the region and their awareness of career options in technology.

“Whilst attitudes are changing, there is still a strong perception that technology is a ‘job for the boys’, but we hope programmes like this will break down some of the barriers and help encourage even more girls to consider a career in tech.”

ASFA Headteacher, Tracey Greenough, said: “The event gave the girls a glimpse into the many IT careers available and, without a doubt, it has inspired many of them to consider IT not just as a subject choice, but as a career choice, too.”