The role model and mentoring initiative is part of Scotland’s strategy to attract more women into careers in digital technology. It is backed up by the findings of the recent Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together, report which found that women account for 18 per cent of those in digital technology roles in Scotland, with the gender gap starting at school.
To help more young women take their first steps into becoming a role model or mentor, the Digital Technologies Skills Group and Girl Geek Scotland have created a suite of training resources. This includes a training webinar, a directory of organisations that individuals can volunteer with, detailed guidance materials, classroom resources, and case studies from Active Coding Academies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Stemettes.
Morna Simpson, founder of Girl Geek Scotland, said: “Digital technology jobs are everywhere. Industries across Scotland now need people with digital technology skills in order to grow, remain competitive and innovate. And with areas like cyber security in the spotlight, those with the right technology skills are in demand more than ever.
“Scotland’s technology sector is one of the country’s most exciting, creative and successful areas to work. Yet still far too few women are choosing to pursue digital technology. We need more young, credible role models to help change the status quo and show girls how much they could achieve if they choose a career in digital technology. The best role models challenge assumptions, explain the industry and demonstrate accessibility of digital careers.
“Volunteers can make a difference by giving talks, running workshops, offering to help at after school clubs or special events, or even by being an expert that teachers can call on during lessons via video conferencing. Women who enjoy being a role models can also consider becoming a mentor, coaching and advising someone a few years younger who is on the same career path.”
Evelyn Walker, chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group’s gender work stream, said: “It’s really important that students and younger members of the workforce get involved with these projects. For that to happen we also need employers to recognise the value of giving staff time out of the office to take part. I know from my own experience that participation in such schemes helped with my professional development and volunteers can learn a lot to help with their own career aspirations.”
The training resources have been created with support from Digital World, the careers campaign for Scotland’s digital technologies sector. Developed by industry in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, Digital World highlights the many opportunities available for people with digital technologies skills and showcases Scotland’s success stories in the sector.
The Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy sets out its goal to increase the number of people in digital technology roles to 150,000 by 2021. Preparing young people for the digital future by improving digital skills levels is an integral component of this strategy. Career opportunities are significant, with an estimated 12,800 job opportunities available in Scotland annually.
Access the role model and mentor resources: https://www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/be-inspired/initiatives/become-a-tech-role-model/