In collaboration with FACT,Liverpool Girl Geeks, will be running its second academy for girls aged 14 to 17 from April after last year’s scheme received 90 applications for just 15 places. Tony McDonough reports.
A Liverpool-based programme offering free digital technology skills to teenage girls is to be relaunched this year following a successful pilot in 2016.
Liverpool Girl Geeks, in collaboration with FACT, will be running its second academy for girls aged 14 to 17 from April after last year’s scheme received 90 applications for just 15 places.
New research released by Manchester Digital in February 2017 suggests that the gender gap in the North’s digital technology sector is continuing to widen, with workforces split 72:28 male to female (88:12 in technical roles) – a decline from the previous year.
Liverpool Girl Geeks is a social enterprise on a mission to decrease the gender imbalance within the tech sector by inspiring women and girls of all ages to have careers in it.
It plays a vital role in to addressing the imbalance, and their application figures show that there is a demand for extracurricular education for girls who are interested in technology.
The Girl Geek Academy will run at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) from April 2017 into 2018.
Workshops will take place at FACTLab, giving participants access to all of its facilities, including electronic and prototyping equipment such as 3D printing and laser cutting.
Three programmes are planned over the next 12 months, covering themes such as electronic music and wearable technologies.
Over an eight week project cycle, girls will learn to code, prototype and design tools and products, and be introduced to female role models from the industry.
Liverpool Girl Geeks also provides mentoring and support to those who graduate from the Academy, with girls recently achieving day placements at companies such as Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Over the past year, the organisation has worked with more than 100 teenagers, building their self-belief and helping them to obtain the technical skills needed to enter the digital and technology sector.
Academy graduate Amelia Roberts, aged 13, said: “It’s helped me realise how much I can do and achieve, and that success isn’t just meant for the boys any more.”
The next academy, which is sponsored by Co-op Digital and Liverpool’s John Moores University will focus on music technology and coding through open source software, Sonic Pi.
Chelsea Slater, co-founder of Liverpool Girl Geeks, said:
“Until there is change both in attitudes towards the tech sector and the current school curriculum, programmes like this are necessary.
“Over the last year not only have we discovered that girls are super keen to have careers in the industry, we know that this is a field they will excel in as well. It’s time to re-define their careers and let them know anything is possible.”