University hosts event to get girls interested in IT

Solent University is working with local schools to encourage careers for women in IT
Solent University is working with local schools to encourage careers for women in IT
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A review has revealed that women make up only 12 per cent of the IT/Cyber workforce industry.

The shockingly low findings have been taken very seriously by Solent University, which teamed up with the National Cyber Security Centre to provide an educational event for young female pupils.

The university invited 11-14 year old girls to its site and Cyber Girls First, a part of the NCSC, also attended to give a talk on the benefits of working in IT.

Girls from local secondary schools listened to the teams as they tried to change the perception of the industry.

High-powered women from within the industry and the local government spoke in front of 39 children from Bitterne Park Secondary School and Woodlands Community College.

Professor and research fellow of software quality at Solent University, Margaret Ross organised the event. She was recently nominated as one of the 159 most influential women in the UK tech 2017 by Computer Weekly.

Margaret said: ‘During WWII, more than 60 per cent of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park were women. Working with Cyber Girls First for an event of this kind is a great opportunity to introduce girls to the industry.’

The pupils also got to participate in activities such as coding-classes, using Pi-top equipment and a quiz.

Elliot Smith, head of computing at Woodlands said:

‘The event was a great day. We have many girls that engage well with computer science but few perceive it as an option for their future. It was a great opportunity to make it that a future within the industry is one that they could develop a fantastic career out of.’

Bitterne student Eleanor Williams said: ‘I loved how real the speakers were and that really motivates me to do my best and succeed in coding and ICT.’