Social enterprise InnovateHer has pledged to reach 1,000 girls across Greater Manchester and Liverpool City by 2020, through its after-school programme.
The programme aims to address gender inequality in the tech industry, and works with digital and technology companies to create more inclusive workspaces for the next generation.
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Aimed at girls aged 12–16, InnovateHer has already worked with over 240 girls in 12 schools, providing career coaching and contact with tech employers and industry role models. Previous InnovateHer participants have reported feeling more confident about having careers in tech after completing the course, and have secured work experience placements at companies such as Sony.
InnovateHer also runs an online community, where alumni are involved in peer-to-peer mentoring through an ambassador scheme.
It’s critical that young people are given the opportunity to learn key digital skills from an early age, as the majority of roles now require digital skills
– Jo Morfee, InnovateHer
Jo Morfee, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “It’s critical that young people are given the opportunity to learn key digital skills from an early age, as the majority of roles now require digital skills. We also have a gender gap in the industry; just 20% of tech roles in the North West are taken by women.
“That’s why we’re on a mission to change the narrative, because we believe that everyone, regardless of background or identity, should be given the opportunity to follow the path that they choose. It’s great that the Combined Authorities in both Liverpool and Manchester are supporting this ambition as it enables us to reach over 50 schools and hundreds of girls across the North West region.”
The Greater Manchester programme will be delivered in partnership with a variety of private sector companies under the name GoDigital, backed by Mayor Andy Burnham. GoDigital aims to reach up to 50 schools in the region by 2020, to deliver digital skills training and careers coaching to Year 8 pupils.
Programmes like InnovateHer are so important because they challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations, which will help ensure that girls in our city region feel able to consider a rewarding career in the tech sector.
– Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region
The Liverpool City programme aims to reach six schools by 2020, working with one school in each borough. Schools can choose a theme for their programme, such as web development, tech for good, or gaming. Pupils will also have the opportunity to showcase their work at The Big Bang Festival in July.
Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority portfolio holder for education, employment, skills and apprenticeships, said: “Programmes like InnovateHer are so important because they challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations, which will help ensure that girls in our city region feel able to consider a rewarding career in the tech sector.”
InnovateHer is currently seeking industry mentors to help lead the programme, and business partners to help with delivery. If you would like to be involved, contact the team at innovateher.co.uk