The Digital Her programme, created by Manchester Digital, successfully reached over 1,200 young women across Greater Manchester in 2019, encouraging these individuals to consider pursuing a career in the region’s growing digital technology sector.
Last year, the Digital Her initiative connected with local schools to deliver 10 roadshows across Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs. These events aimed to engage young women with tech and digital-related subjects and give them the confidence and desire to explore a digital career. The roadshows partnered with some of the biggest businesses in the region including GCHQ, Manchester Science Partnerships, AutoTrader, BJSS, Brother UK, and Manchester City Football Club.
As well as engaging over 1,200 young women, 200 educators from over 100 schools and colleges have been upskilled and 10 work experience opportunities were gained, accumulating to nearly 500 hours of industry experience. In addition, over 68,000 employer interactions were established.
Each event gave attendees the opportunity to connect with Digital Her real role models, get hands-on experience through skills and careers insights-based workshops, as well as take up vital student industry experience days and dedicated Digital Her work placements with local employers.
Figures from Wise Campaign reveal that despite outperforming boys across STEM subjects – 66 per cent of girls achieved A*-C/9-4 grades compared to 62 per cent of boys in 2018 – there is still not enough young women taking up STEM subjects.
This later impacts the workforce as we see young women drop out of the tech talent pipeline at every education transition point, meaning fewer women in the tech talent pool to hire from for the region’s employers. This can specifically be seen in Manchester Digital’s 2019 Skills Audit, which revealed just over a third of people working in the North West’s tech sector are female, with only 20 per cent of these women in technical roles.
Emma Grant, Head of Talent and Skills at Manchester Digital commented: “We’re thrilled to see how successful Digital Her was last year. The only way to solve the skills shortage is by connecting industry to education and inspiring young women to take up careers in digital and tech. Through the programme, we’ve seen numerous students realise that regardless of their background, or whether they take a STEM or non-STEM route, there is a career pathway that is accessible to them in our industry. Entry and progression into our industry often aren’t linear – which in itself brings opportunities.
“We’re looking forward to another exciting year in 2020 with new initiatives being set to launch. We truly believe that by harnessing the power of real role models working in the sector and partnering with forward-thinking, diversity conscious businesses, is the best way to showcase what opportunities there are out there, no matter what your gender, interests, or background.
“We can’t wait to see what this year holds; we’re looking forward to working with more businesses and continuing to encourage young women across Greater Manchester into our industry.”
Following last 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.
For more information, visit the Digital Her website or contact Emma Grant, Head of Talent and Skills at Manchester Digital, directly.