Blackpool tech team aims to inspire girls into male-dominated sector
Young women on the Fylde coast are being given the chance to hack their way into a male-dominated industry, thanks to a network initiative.
The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network, part of the Prince’s Trust’s Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, is a group made up of a growing number of business leaders passionate about supporting local people into jobs.
Blackpool-based website design and software development agency, Code Galaxy, joined the volunteer-led RBN to give something back to its community, and has taken part in initiatives such as Cyber Girls First – a project to encourage more women into technology jobs.
Mary Speakman, a director at Code Galaxy, said the RBN has helped her business spread the word to a larger audience of prospective employees, and has played a pivotal role in helping to encourage more people to forge careers in the local area.
She said: “When young people start to think about their careers, they typically think about seasonal jobs, but they never really see the more corporate sector and the private businesses which also provide long term career options. Young people are then seeking employment in cities and moving away from the resort, which is an issue for employers looking to recruit talent in Blackpool.
“A lot of RBN members have gone into schools and given talks to pupils, the future workforce, and are sharing their inspirational stories and letting people know that there are opportunities locally.
“There’s many success stories within the network where people who have been in the position of the young people have moved on to higher positions. I failed my IT exam when I was at school and I didn’t get into computers until much later, but now I have my own digital business so it’s a way of showing the young people that anything is possible.”
Mary said: “In Europe, there’s only five per cent of female leaders in technology so we are not well represented at all. Misconceptions about tech can cause some women to overlook the opportunities that are available.”
Michelle Walker, the RBN’s project manager, said: “We aim to inspire people and get them into the world of work, and we are so thankful for the excellent support we get from local businesses.
"We connect with hundreds of local young people, and the fantastic businesses we have in Blackpool and across the Fylde Coast inspire them with the outstanding work they carry out.”