From education to employment

West Midlands digital employers come together to inspire young women to pursue careers in tech

Inspiring female role models from a number of digital and tech employers have met with 72 female secondary school students from across the West Midlands to provide tips and guidance, and inspire the students with the confidence to pursue careers within the industry.

Building on the success of previous #GirlTechWM events, this year’s event was held at X+Why in Birmingham on the 6 July and was sponsored by AND Digital and law firm Pinsent Masons. Students from six schools took part in the event where they met with female leaders from some of the leading digital employers within the region. The interactive tech and digital day was founded and delivered by Ahead Partnership, leaders in developing ESG solutions and delivering measurable social impact through business partnership.  

The 12–14-year-old students participated in a variety of exciting activities including speed networking delivered by Netcompany, Kagool and BJSS, workshops and careers panels. AND Digital, Tech She Can and Pinsent Masons also delivered a series of inspirational speeches.

The event, targeted to those in the build-up to choosing their GCSE subject choices, provided attendees with the latest information on careers in digital and tech to give them the tools and confidence needed for them to succeed. The aim of the event was to increase diversity and social mobility within the sector by reaching students with the most up-to-date industry insight at a key stage in their educational journey.

At the end of the event, 90% of students said that they are now interested in careers within the digital and tech sector.

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive at Ahead Partnership said:

“The success of our #GirlTechWM initiative continues to gather pace and build on previous successes. This year’s bumper programme of events has allowed the business community to come together as one and inspire the next generation of digital leaders. Through engagement, businesses are able to showcase the types of roles on offer to young people at a crucial time in their learning, allowing them to make choices about their future career direction. #GirlTechWM is helping to address a clear skills gap and to level-up the traditional gender-bias within the tech-sector.”

Rich Bovey, Club Exec at AND Digital Club Woods said:

It was fantastic to be a part of this #GirlTechWM event enabling young women to learn more about the tech sector and inspiring them to have the confidence to pursue careers within the industry. It is essential for businesses like ours to have a strong talent pipeline and to achieve this, it is vital to engage with the next generation of talent, especially those who are underrepresented within the sector. Having a diverse workforce helps develop fresh ideas and allows businesses like ours to continue being innovative.”

Rhonda Bennet, Head of Business Change within Tech Services at Pinsent Masons said:

“We know how important it is to empower and inspire young people, especially young women, to consider careers in the tech and digital sector. By connecting them with successful female role models we hope to help these students feel confident to pursue a career within the industry. Tech and digital businesses are aware of the skills gap and gender imbalance within the sector and how these are harmful to the future of the industry. This is why working with Ahead Partnership on targeted activities like #GirlTechWM is so important to us as it helps businesses across the West Midlands take steps to address these gaps, helping to build a stronger future for the sector”.

#GirlTechWM is part of a wider Ahead Partnership programme, Growing Talent West Midlands. The programme aims to enable young people to build a successful future regardless of their background. This is achieved through building long-term connections with businesses, community partners and the public sector to deliver inspirational hands-on activities that focus on sectors facing a growing demand for talent. Sponsors of the programme include Goldman Sachs, Intercity Technology, Infinity Works and PwC.

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