Tech opportunities promoted to female students

Event gives students a taste of the world of tech.

Female students from nine schools across Birmingham have been introduced to opportunities within the tech industry, with help by volunteers from digital firms across the West Midlands.

The #GirlTechBrum event is aimed at raising aspirations and helping young women aged 12-13 years old explore careers in the digital and tech sectors, through a series of interactive careers panels, workshops and guest speakers, supported by a range of businesses.

The event was funded by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust and supported by social enterprise Ahead Partnership. #GirlTechBrum is part of Ahead Partnership’s Make the Grade programme, which has supported more than 150,000 young people to date with real-life, hands-on experiences, delivered by local employers.

Over 120 pupils attended the event at the iconic Millennium Point building in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside, with guest speeches from Melissa Snover, MD of the world’s first 3D sweet printer Magic Candy, and Faye Pressly, COO at technology solutions provider Vanti.

Students also participated in a range of workshops from Codemasters, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Legal & General, InMoment, Lander Automotive and PwC, covering a range of topics including financial crime, UX and customer intelligence, before posing their own questions to a panel of female role models in STEM.

The #GirlTechBrum event is just one component of a larger programme of activity being delivered by Ahead Partnership as part of a drive to improve diversity in the digital sector and increase the uptake of roles in these sectors amongst females. Ahead Partnership coordinates, plans and delivers quality events, designed alongside employers to deliver key skills to young people.

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support students in Birmingham through this event, which is really helping to deliver the skills needed in such a thriving sector. We worked closely with the Millennium Point Charitable Trust and business community to design activities that will have tangible impact for students and help demonstrate what it’s like to work in tech to young females and demonstrate the wide range of career paths available.

“The tech industry is already one of the most important for the UK and the outcome of events such as #GirltechBrum has been fantastic to date – it is important that businesses continue to support these initiatives, so we can reach further young people and continue to make a difference across Birmingham and the surrounding areas.”

The tech sector is vital to the continued success of the region’s economy and is a key part of Metro Mayor Andy Street’s economic strategy.

When asked about the benefit of the work Ahead Partnership is facilitating in Birmingham, Metro Mayor Andy Street said: “Digital and technology have been identified as key growth areas for the Birmingham of the future. The West Midlands is home to one of the largest tech clusters in the UK with more than 40,000 people employed in the sector, and this is only going to grow over the coming years.

“It’s fantastic to see organisations like Ahead Partnership, the Millennium Point Trust and the private sector working together to make sure our young people are aware of the range of opportunities are available on their doorstep in these sectors. If we want the tech industry to keep growing, we need a sustainable local talent pool that benefits all communities.”

Abbie Vlahakis, Financial Director at Millennium Point Charitable Trust, added: “As a venue and destination dedicated to supporting STEM, Millennium Point is committed to supporting events such as this.

“Helping females take up roles in tech is an absolutely vital part of ensuring the UK leads the industry on an international scale. Events such #GirlTechBrum are crucial in showing that roles in tech can be for anyone, making it accessible, social, and fun to learn more about.

“Today’s event allowed students to see first-hand what a career in digital involves, and it’s great to see a diverse range of businesses come together to challenge perceptions of tech and digital and help young women see their place in this fast-growing industry.”