Girls into Digital World launches at Microsoft Scotland

An innovative role model programme dedicated to encouraging more girls to challenge convention and pursue digital careers launches today (1 March) at Microsoft’s Scottish HQ.

‘Girls into Digital World’ is a three-day programme of activities to inspire and engage girls in S3 take up digital careers, running in Edinburgh from 15-17 March 2016.

A group of 36 girls chosen from across Edinburgh will participate in the programme of visits, talks with role models, and “hands on” activities with employers. The new initiative will be run by Skills Development Scotland with partners Microsoft, Standard Life, Edinburgh College and Heriot Watt University.

Girls into Digital World aims to show participants that a career in digital technology is one they can identify with and see as a serious option. As well as introducing the group to inspirational women in tech, it will also give them the chance to experience a day in the life of a technology professional.

SDS are working with Edinburgh Napier University and industry partners to better understand the barriers to women so that we can jointly develop interventions which will address the gender imbalance in the technology sector.

Annabelle Ewing, Scottish Government Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, said: “Scotland’s workforce is benefiting from initiatives like Girls into Digital World which dismisses outdated notions linking gender to jobs and proactively creates positive new ways into our successful industries. Projects like this which link to employers can make a big difference in showing the range of opportunities on offer, particularly in sectors which have so much potential for growth, and reinforce how businesses benefit from bringing on talented young staff.”

Karen Murray, head of national training programme development at Skills Development Scotland, said: “Girls into Digital World is a brilliant opportunity for girls to hear about varied and interesting career opportunities in this growth sector and be inspired by women in the industry in Scotland. Women currently account for a much smaller proportion of ICT roles in Scotland than men so the opportunities to improve the balance are significant.”

She continued: “Positive role models are incredibly influential so I hope we can make a difference by introducing the group to a whole range of successful women who show very clearly that digital is not just for men. It’s really important that we catch girls early to help them build their confidence and raise their knowledge and esteem of the profession.”

Steven Grier, Microsoft country manager for Scotland, said: “Working directly with schools and showing young people what a career in digital technology could offer them is a really powerful way for businesses to keep both girls and boys engaged in computing. We are delighted to be supporting Girls into Digital World and hope that we can inspire the group to continue on the path to becoming digital professionals.”

The programme is part of Digital World, an initiative to promote careers in the digital technology industry, which has been developed by the sector in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.

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