National skills initiative InnovateHer, which is dedicated to giving girls aged 12-16 the skills, self-belief and confidence to pursue a career in technology, will run across three schools in Manchester this January and a further five schools across Greater Manchester will host the programme before the summer break.
InnovateHer aims to encourage greater equality and diversity in technical roles by giving girls the opportunity to interact with leading employers and industry role models, providing them with up to date careers advice and coaching, and giving them the chance to learn new digital skills.
With support from local partners Co-op Digital, Manchester City Council, Code ComputerLove, and Northcoders, the InnovateHer team will be delivering the eight-week after-school programme by working with local industry mentors who will lead the sessions. The 'web development' themed programme will be delivered in East Manchester Academy and Whalley Range High School, teaching girls a wide range of essential coding skills and including field trips to NorthCoders and Code ComputerLove. Co-op Academy North Manchester will host a 'tech for good' themed programme which teaches key skills relating to User Experience design, with a field trip to the Federation and the Co-op.
The initiative – which has reached over 240 girls to date across 12 schools in the North West – is an extension of the success Liverpool Girl Geeks has had in Liverpool City Region since its launch in 2013.
In partnership with national policy makers, local government and industry leaders, InnovateHer is now one step closer to its goal of establishing a national network of school-based programmes to tackle the digital skills gap, which is currently estimated to cost the UK economy £63 billion in lost GDP.
We've seen some fantastic results from our work to date; girls have increased in confidence and self-belief and told us they want to work in areas like cyber security, games and artificial intelligence. We want to bring our programme to every town and city in the North to empower more girls to enter and disrupt traditionally male-dominated industries.
Jo Morfee, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “We’ve seen some fantastic results from our work to date; girls have increased in confidence and self-belief and told us they want to work in areas like cyber security, games, and artificial intelligence.
We want to bring our programme to every town and city in the North to empower more girls to enter and disrupt traditionally male dominated industries. This is an exciting new chapter for us, we're currently growing our team and expanding our offer. We are keen to keep working with new and existing national partners like the Co-op to help make businesses and communities prosper.”
Llara Geddes, Head of UX at User Conversion, is a Lead Mentor on an upcoming programme at Cedar Mount Academy, starting in February. Llara said; “I’ve been keen to get involved with InnovateHer since its inception! I believe passionately in supporting girls into STEM careers and helping them understand the options available to them. I can't wait to start the programme in February.”
Gail Lyon, head of digital engagement at Co-op Digital said; “It’s exciting to be supporting this very important initiative. Gender balance is something we’re working hard to achieve within our own internal digital teams, so it’s ideal to be able to support this work to inspire girls in some of our own Coop Academy schools.”
To express interest about becoming a partner, mentor, or host school, you can contact the InnovateHer team here.