#GirlTechLCR helps young women discover careers in tech as part of Leeds Digital Festival

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Female students from four schools across Leeds and Bradford are getting an introduction to the world of digital with the help of volunteers from tech firms across the Leeds City Region.

The event, taking place as part of Leeds Digital Festival, is hosted by technology enabled language solution provider thebigword and telecommunications firm aql with social enterprise Ahead Partnership. #GirlTechLCR is part of the Make the Grade programme which has supported more than 100,000 young people to date with real-life, hands-on experiences designed by local employers.

#GirlTechLCR hopes to raise aspirations and help young women aged 13 - 14 years old explore careers in the digital sector, an industry which is set to grow by 15% in this region over the next decade.

75 students will attend the event where they will hear a guest speech from Leeds telecommunications operator aql’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Tulip, before posing their own questions to a panel of female role models in tech from thebigword, NHS Digital, aql and Unilever.

Students will then take part in a series of interactive workshops with employers from around the region including cap hpi, Landsec, PwC, BJSS, Sky and Siemens. The workshops will cover a range of sectors in digital such as ecommerce, fintech, new technologies and healthcare, and are designed to show the students first-hand what a career in digital involves.

Mark Clayton, CTO at thebigword said:  “At thebigword we have some fantastic women working in our technology department but we want more! I have been working with some of the most prestigious tech businesses across Leeds to get more people inspired to go digital, so I am delighted that thebigword is co-hosting the #GirlTechLCR event. “

Sarah Tulip, Chief Operating Officer at aql, said: “Getting girls into tech is an absolutely crucial part of transforming the North into a tech powerhouse, and a big focus for aql. Since I joined aql, we’ve doubled the number of women in the company and placed women in every one of our technical teams – not coincidentally, it’s been one of the most successful periods in our history. Girls can do amazing things in tech. We need to make sure that’s happening across the sector, and the first step is making sure girls are aware of, and prepared for, those opportunities.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive, said: “Recent research shows that 30% of girls aged 11-16 think ICT is ‘more for boys’ and less than half are clear about the types of jobs they can do in tech. This diverse range of businesses are coming together to challenge young women’s perceptions of tech and digital and help them see their place in this fast-growing industry.”

You can follow the day online using the hashtag #GirlTechLCR >>

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