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Metro Mayor launches schools programme to improve the gender balance in tech sector

SPEAKING at the launch of an action plan identifying the key skills challenges for the digital and creative sector, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, today launched a Schools programme to encourage more girls to go into the tech sector. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has teamed up with local social enterprise:- 'InnovateHer' to deliver a programme in Schools across the City Region, aimed at getting more girls into the digital tech sector and addressing the digital skills gap. Only 20% of people currently working in technical roles in the Liverpool City Region are women.

The 'InnovateHer' programme, which is an extension of Liverpool Girl Geeks, is designed to encourage greater equality and diversity in technical roles by giving girls in Year 8 access to the skills and confidence they need to pursue a career in technology. Supported by the Mayoral Priority Fund, the programme will run in 6 Schools this year; 1 in each of the City Region's Local Authority areas.

The 'InnovateHer' programme also aims to address the gap between the digital skills the industry requires and those that Schools currently offer and to give girls an insight into careers in the tech sector. The 8 week programme will be led by female mentors from the tech sector who will act as a role models and work with girls in year 8 to inspire them to choose Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) related subjects at GCSE and A level. As well as careers advice and mentoring, the programme covers in demand tech and digital skills such as UX design, programming, persona mapping, pitching and marketing. It also focuses on building confidence and improving self belief through mentoring.

Steve Rotheram said:- "We know that girls are doing really well academically at School and often outperforming boys, but they are still hugely under represented in the digital and tech sector. As a City Region and as a country we cannot afford to miss out on this huge pool of talent as girls and young women are lost to this vital sector as a result of choices they make at the age of 13. That is why this project is potentially so important; we know that in order to make a difference we need to engage with girls to spark their interest and give them the self confidence to choose to study STEM related subjects."

Jo Morfee, co-founder of 'InnovateHer', said:- "Traditionally, there has been a perception that girls aren't suited to technology based roles. Gender bias is instilled in girls from School age in many ways. For example, pioneering female technology innovators are rarely discussed and most technology roles are already dominated by men, which perpetuates the myth that women aren't suited to these roles. However, nowadays, digital skills are needed in every business, whatever the sector. Whether it's building websites, graphic design, or computer games design, there are a huge range of careers and opportunities available in the digital sector and we need to ensure that girls aren't missing out."

The Combined Authority has invited Schools across the Liverpool City Region to submit an expression of interest for the programme, which will start in April 2019.

The announcement was made at the launch of the:- "Skills for Growth Action Plan: Digital and Creative," which took place on Friday, 15 February 2019, at Clickworks, in St Helens.

Woodcarver makes a new Formby Landmark

A local sculptor, Simon Archer, based on the National Trust Reserve has been working to turn the remains of a much loved Horse Chestnut tree, in the centre of Formby Village into a new landmark. The Horse Chestnut trees have been part of Chapel Lane for over 100 years and have given it a unique character for generations. Sadly, a controversial decision to fell them was made by Sefton Council in 2018. While some of them have been reprieved, one tree was cut down with its main trunk left so that it could be made into a new feature. The work, commissioned by Formby Parish Council, will result in the trunk being turned into the front end of a Viking Longboat, thus paying tribute to the Village's historic beginnings. We are also told that Formby Tool Hire had providing the fencing and scaffolding platform, both free of charge. Also the project we are told was funded entirely by Harington Ward Councillors' S106 monies, with no cost whatsoever to Formby residents. So what are your views on this local artist's work? Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.



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