Young women across Tameside learned all about future careers in the digital sector at a special event at Hyde Town Hall.
Manchester Digital teamed up with Audenshaw-based Brother UK to bring its Digital Her initiative to the borough.
On the 11th December, around 100 Year 8 pupils connected with Digital Her ‘Real Role Models’ and mentors from the industry, gaining hands-on experience through engaging exploration and skills-based workshops, as well as building confidence and curiosity.
The aim of the event was to inspire and empower Tameside’s young women to consider careers in the thriving digital and technology sector.
With the support of Tameside Council through initiatives like Tameside Hack and local businesses like Brother UK, Tameside is currently leading the way across Greater Manchester in ensuring all local young people are gaining access to vital digital skills opportunities.
Digital Her is an initiative created by Manchester Digital, the specialist trade body for innovative technology and digital businesses across Greater Manchester, in a bid to help end gender inequality in the technology sector.
With only 20 per cent of technical roles in these industries being held by women, the project aims to engage with STEM-related subjects at GCSE and A-level and give girls the confidence and desire to explore careers available in digital and tech across the region.
Additionally, Digital Her will provide the opportunity for the young women to take part in valuable work placements and industry experience days, with local digital and tech employers.
Emma Grant, Head of Talent and Skills at Manchester Digital, said: “It was amazing to be in Tameside for our final Digital Her roadshow of 2019. It’s been a fantastic year! We’ve worked with lots of amazing sponsors, fantastic role models, and 1200 incredible young women across Greater Manchester, who have challenged and inspired us, as well as us inspiring them.
“The Digital Her programme has been a massive success, providing valuable insight and experience opportunities and meaningful interactions for the girls with real role models from the digital and tech sector. It’s also been refreshing to see how engaged the local schools have been with the roadshows, ensuring their students benefit from participating in the programme. We’re delighted with the reach we’ve had and the impact we’ve already made this year and can’t wait to launch our Digital Her 2020 programme.”
Ben Davidson, Assistant Headteacher at Laurus Ryecroft High School in Droylsden, said: “We’ve found today really engaging and exciting for the students. The young women have been able to think about careers which they might not have thought about before and consider their future options.
“It’s also been really hands-on which has made it fun – I know the young women have gained a lot from the experience. Overall, it’s been a really good day and we’ve got lots to take back to school with us.”
Gemmer Crozier, sustainable development coordinator at Brother UK, commented: “Encouraging women into tech has never been so important. Initiatives such as Digital Her are playing a central role in communicating the wonderful opportunities this type of career can offer, while bestowing the confidence and desire to explore them.
“Engaging with girls from an early age represents a vital step as it encourages them to connect with STEM-based subjects and breaks the current issues of stereotype and perception. After joining Brother as a trainee, I’ve seen first-hand how collaborations with organisations like Manchester Digital, together with the great work the STEM ambassador system delivers, are inspiring women from an early age.
“We’re proud of our heritage in Tameside and we look forward to continue supporting our young people in developing a strong platform for their education and future career.”
Following this year’s successful campaign, Digital Her is being extended into 2020, with aims to continue connecting more young women in Greater Manchester to real role models in digital and technology roles in the region. If you want to register a place for your school or college, please follow this link or get in touch with Natasha Kitchen, Talent & Skills Project Coordinator, directly at email@example.com.