A high-profile campaign created to inspire both women and students in Manchester to consider a career in digital and tech has been launched, in the midst of a severe skills shortage.
The ‘Digital Her’ campaign was created by Manchester Digital as a result of its 2018 Digital Skills Audit, which revealed that just over a third of people working in the North West’s tech sector are female, with just 19% of these women in technical roles.
Its newly released 2019 Skills Audit revealed a one percent increase in women in technical roles over the past year (now standing at 20%).
The Digital Her programme aims to engage with STEM-related subjects at GCSE and A-Level and give women the confidence and desire to explore careers available in digital and tech across the region.
Figures from Wise Campaign reveal that despite outperforming the boys across STEM subjects - 66% of girls achieved A*-C/9-4 grades compared to 62% of boys in 2018 - there are still not enough young women taking up STEM subjects.
Just 39% of students who studied A-Level Maths in 2018 were female, with this number dropping to 22% and 12% in Physics and Computing respectively.
The campaign kicked off earlier this year with the launch of a new roadshow initiative aimed at inspiring more than 1200 school girls across the region to consider a career in tech. The Inspire & Empower Roadshow, will visit each of Manchester's ten boroughs, engaging with young women in their local areas.
The first roadshow is taking place today (12th February) in Oldham at Queen Elizabeth Hall, where attendees will have the opportunity to connect with Digital Her ambassadors, get hands-on experience through skills-based workshops, and take up ring-fenced work placements with local employers.
Katie Gallagher, Managing Director at Manchester Digital said: “Manchester Digital firmly believes that the only way we can solve the current skills shortage is by connecting industry to education and part of that is about inspiring young women to take up careers in digital and tech.
“We are lucky to be home to a number of progressive and forward-thinking companies who are committed to working with us to make a difference and ensure that our industry is inclusive and diverse.”
Digital Her has significant industry backing from tech giants across the region including BJSS, Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), Auto Trader and GCHQ.
Jane Fitzmaurice, Employer Brand Manager at Auto Trader said “We are incredibly excited to work with Manchester Digital and help launch the Digital Her programme.
“Through this fantastic initiative, we hope to reach even more young women and showcase all the amazing aspects of the technology industry.”