Recognising the industry’s gender imbalance and growing demand for tech skills, RSA Insurance joined International Girls in ICT Day celebrations through its partnership with the Code Club at Millais, an all-girl school in Horsham.
According to research by RSA, boys are more than twice as likely than girls to say they are very likely to pursue a career in coding or computer science.
The study, covering 790 young people aged between 13 and 18 in the UK, also found that 14 per cent of girls felt the lack of resources held them back from pursuing further education or a job in technology.
Since launching Code Club in 2017, Millais has seen a 23 per cent increase in students taking computer science at GCSE level. The club aims to diversify the workforce of tomorrow by teaching practical skills to students aged 11-14, introducing them to coding and skill essential to the UK economy.
RSA has been supporting Millais’ Code Club since January 2020 with prepared lesson plans and classes by Amanda Beedham, a data scientist at RSA.
The insurance group also donated 50 laptops through RSA’s community grant.
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Becci Hunt, subject lead of digital technologies at Millais School, said: “I am so proud of what we have accomplished with Code Club since its launch. We now have this amazing community where students can learn to code together and develop their computer skills, from programming a website using HTML to completing some really interesting projects on Micro:bits.
“With support from Amanda, Emily and Phyllis from RSA, we have been able to show students where their skills could take them in the real world, hopefully inspiring and empowering these talented young people to use their skills in whatever they choose to do in the future.”
Megan Wilks, year 10 student, said: “Code Club has really improved my knowledge and helped me progress from coding in Scratch to more advanced languages like Python.
“I’m now working on a wide range of projects, such as creating websites in HTML to making games just from code. Anyone can learn to do coding if they just give it a shot!”
Megan’s skills in coding have helped towards her Duke of Edinburgh Award, as she used skills learned through Code Club to build a website.
Amanda said: “By role-modelling and showing that coding can be fun and a creative outlet, we’re playing our part in ensuring these students at Millais School can feel included and empowered to bring to life their versions of the future, even in male-dominated fields like computer science.”
International Girls in ICT Day is held on the fourth Thursday in April and aims to encourage young women to pursue careers in the growing field of technology.