From education to employment

Boys twice as likely to pursue career in computer science, despite 39% of girls expressing interest in becoming a mobile game developer  

Recognising the industry’s gender imbalance and growing demand for tech skills, RSA Insurance has today joined International Girls in ICT Day celebrations through its partnership with the Code Club at the Millais School, a girls’ secondary school in Horsham, West Sussex.

According to research commissioned by RSA, boys are more than twice as likely than girls to say they’re very likely to pursue a career or further education in coding or computer science (25% vs 11%). The study, covering 790 young people aged between 13 and 18 in the UK also found that 14% of girls felt that the lack of access or resources held them back from pursuing further education or a job in related in tech.

When asked about future jobs an education in computer science or coding would inspire, top jobs identified by girls include mobile app developer (39%), video game creator (36%) and data scientist (25%).

To promote a balanced future workforce and encourage more young women to pursue STEM careers, RSA is proud to have been supporting Millais School’s afterschool Code Club since January 2020. The club aims to diversify the workforce of tomorrow by teaching practical skills to students aged 11-14, introducing them to coding professions essential to the UK economy. The club has also grown rapidly since its launch and has already led to a 23% increase in students taking Computer Science at GCSE level at the school. Led by Amanda Beedham, a Data Scientist at RSA, support from the insurer includes preparing lesson plans, leading classes, and donating 50 laptops through RSA’s community grant.

Amanda Beedham, Data Scientist at RSA Insurance and ambassador for the Millais School Code Club said:

“It’s so important that the employee pipeline for future technology roles is as diverse as possible to bring a wide range of ideas and perspectives. We have such a talented and inquisitive group of future coders at Code Club, I just wish that I had a similar push in this direction when I was their age. Emily Seddon, Phyllis Wong and I all code as part of our day jobs at RSA. By role-modelling and showing that coding can be fun and a creative outlet, we’re playing our part in ensuring these students at Millais School can feel included and empowered to bring to life their versions of the future, even in male-dominated fields like computer science.”

Becci Hunt, Subject Lead of Digital Technologies at Millais School said:

“I am so proud of what we have accomplished with Code Club since its launch. We now have this amazing community where students can learn to code together and develop their computer skills, from programming a website using HTML to completing some really interesting projects on Micro:bits. With support from Amanda, Emily and Phyllis from RSA, we have been able to show students where their skills could take them in the real world, hopefully inspiring and empowering these talented young people to use their skills in whatever they choose to do in the future.”

Dr Alison Lodwick, Headteacher at Millais Secondary School said:

“In the past, the gender imbalance in the field of technology and a lack of information and encouragement from a young age meant that girls could not see themselves with a tech-related career. Since taking up the headship at Millais, we have made it a key priority to ensure that our students are fully aware of the diverse opportunities readily available to them in this area. In partnership with RSA, we are opening up their horizons and the exciting future possibilities.”

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