Women working in technology are now being offered an opportunity to inspire a new generation, via the TechFuture Women’s Network.
The network launched this week by education movement Apps for Good, employer organisation the Tech Partnership and the consulting, technology and outsourcing services provider Capgemini, to address the gender imbalance within the technology sector.
Michelle Perkins, Director, Schools Outreach Programme at Capgemini, outlines the thinking behind the TechFuture Women’s Network: “If we’re to attract talented young people into tech careers, we need to start early, so working with school age children is vital.
We know that nothing is more powerful for young people than seeing real-life success – people who are clearly having enjoyable and worthwhile careers – so we hope that female tech specialists will jump at the chance to act as role models. Both boys and girls need to hear and be influenced by women already working in the industry.”
As part of the initiative, women working in the digital and technology roles at all levels are being asked to sign up to the TechFuture Women’s Network, a community of professionals taking part in programmes that promote technology in schools. The aim is to change the way that young people learn about technology, and ensure they see the range and excitement of tech careers open to them.
Debbie Forster, co-CEO of Apps for Good, adds: “School students really value their interaction with business people, and the positive modelling they provide adds an extra dimension to the Apps for Good programme. We’re delighted to be working with Capgemini, and the other employers of the Tech Partnership, to encourage mentors to join us in schools.”
The first of opportunities available to the TechFuture Women’s Network is to join the Apps for Good Expert Community. Apps for Good Experts share their skills and knowledge with enthusiastic student teams as they develop ideas for apps – getting loads of energy, inspiration and new perspectives in return. In the last academic year, more than 25,000 students took part.
There are also openings to mentor young women in TechFuture Girls clubs, after school or lunchtime clubs aimed at girls aged 10 – 14. Since its launch in 2005, more than 150,000 girls have benefited from its mix of activities, games and projects, all designed to build their skills and confidence in technology. Mentors visit the clubs regularly to support the girls and provide new perspectives on the learning.