Tech She Can becomes a charity with over 200 members

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As a charity, Tech She Can can inspire more young girls and women to pursue a career in technology

Tech She Can Strategic Partners are PwC, Google, NatWest, Centrica, Credit Suisse, UST, Morgan Stanley, Tesco, Nationwide and Zoopla

Apprenticeships, career insights, and work experience weeks are a core part of its plans

Tech She Can is delighted to announce that it has become an independent charity. As a charity, Tech She Can, working together with its board of Trustees and member organisations will be able to extend its reach and impact, inspiring more young girls and women to pursue a career in technology. According to PwC’s Women in tech: Time to close the gender gap report, only 3% of girls say a career in technology is their first choice.

Tech She Can was created by PwC in 2018 along with 18 founding organisations following a PwC research initiative into why girls and young women are less likely to study technology-based subjects, and pursue tech careers. Today, it is a charity with over 200 member organisations, with the Tech She Can Strategic Partners being: PwC, Google, NatWest, Centrica, Credit Suisse, UST, Morgan Stanley, Tesco, Nationwide and Zoopla. Other members include the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Channel 4 and come from a wide range of industries committed to collaborating to address the gender imbalance in technology roles in the UK. 

Sheridan Ash MBE and Dr Claire Thorne are the new co-CEOs of the Tech She Can charity. Sheridan Ash is PwC UK’s Technology Innovation Leader and was recognised with an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to young girls and women through technology. Dr Claire Thorne has a background in innovation strategy, R&D and commercialisation spanning universities, government and business. The board of Trustees comprises of: Chair of the Board of Trustees Auriol Stevens, Global Technology Director at Unilever; Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer at NatWest; Laura Barrowman, Chief Information Officer at Credit Suisse; Paul Hammond, VP of Engineering at Zoopla; Ben Higgin, Executive Board member and Technology Leader at PwC UK; Rob Harris, Head of Engineering at Centrica; Praveen Prabhakaran, Managing Director and Chief Delivery Officer UST UK; and Rebecca Stephens, Deputy Director of Digital and Policy, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Sheridan Ash MBE, Tech She Can Founder and co-CEO, said:

“Tech She Can is going from strength to strength. It is inspiring girls and young women by showing them the exciting opportunities provided by technology and the great careers it offers. At the same time it is addressing the problem of skills shortages in technology and giving voice to female perspectives in the development and use of the technologies that we all use. By becoming a charity we will supercharge all the determination and passion that our members bring and the collaboration that underpins all we do. Our objective is for women to play an equal role in creating the technology that shapes our world.”

Dr Claire Thorne, co-CEO, Tech She Can said: 

“With charitable status and a renewed purpose, an extensive and influential member base across all sectors, and a platform reaching schools UK-wide, I’m excited to join Tech She Can to co-lead the team at a time of such opportunity and momentum.

“As a young girl, technology careers and the routes into them were invisible to me; the guidance wasn’t there and today’s role models were only then breaking through. Now, as a woman in tech, a returner and a mum, I see first-hand the urgent need to inspire our next generation when they ask ‘what can I be when I grow up?’, to equip their schools and parents with the technology literacy they need to be able to make those routes a reality, and to value and retain our female talent, against the odds.”

Tech We Can now reaches 630 schools

In 2019, Tech She Can launched an online portal - called Tech We Can - following two successful pilots with schools across the UK. The online portal provides lesson plans for teachers which can be taught to girls and boys aged 9-14, with the aim of inspiring school students across the country to consider a career in technology, and boost the diversity of future technologists. The lesson plans are designed for teachers to adapt based on the technologies available at each participating school and showcase the breadth and depth of tech careers and highlight real life role models, especially females, from across the Tech She Can signatories. Tech We Can now reaches 630 schools across the UK. 

During the pandemic, Tech We Can at Home was launched giving parents and carers access to lesson plans and a series of shorter online sessions, ‘Tech Tuesdays’ were run for 10 consecutive weeks, designed to be viewed on demand in the classroom or at home. There have now been over 1,300 home users of the lesson plans and over 7,500 total views of the Tech Tuesdays. Students and homeschoolers have taken part across the globe from the UK to Australia, Greece, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, the USA and Qatar. 

New initiatives

Tech She Can piloted its very first apprenticeship scheme during the pandemic when Zoopla took onboard 10 trainee software engineers who participated in a 10 week virtual bootcamp. Findings from the boot camp were also used to help Centrica increase their share of female engineering apprentices to 40%. More recently, PwC, Zoopla, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley joined up to deliver Tech She Can’s first ‘Career Insight Programme’ for Year 11 students to find out how technology is used, the types of tech careers that exist, and meet role models from these organisations. The charity is looking to scale these initiatives with apprenticeships, career insights, and work experience weeks becoming a core part of its strategy.

Tech We Can Champions is a newer initiative which allows the employees of the member organisations to receive training in order to give back to their local schools and communities.

Partnerships helping give Tech She Can a greater impact

With the UK facing a critical technology skills shortage, Tech She Can has formed joint initiatives with a number of key partners including the DCMS and the Digital Skills Partnership, Future Dot Now, STEM learning, and Tech Talent Charter. In addition, Tech She Can has sponsored the establishment and participation in an All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM with the British Science Association.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

“I welcome the work being done by Tech She Can to help the next generation of women and girls to pursue careers in technology . 

"Helping a broader range of people get the skills they need to work in technology is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense.

"I am delighted that Tech She Can's new charity status will help its efforts to boost diversity in the sector."

Siân Allsopp, Technology Executive Director, Morgan Stanley said:

“I consider myself to be an accidental technologist, because the importance of technology and the opportunities it opens up were not clear to me or my peers as we made our academic choices at school. 

“Decades on, technology is crucial for our society; from fashion design and social media influencers to medicine and investment banking, technology is shaping our lives and progressing our economies. If we want products and solutions to meet the needs of all communities, then everyone needs to be included in the innovation, design and decision making. Tech She Can is putting technology and the incredibly diverse career opportunities it brings front and centre for women and girls – inspiring and motivating them to make a difference for all our futures.”

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© 2022 Tech She Can. Registered charity number 1195284.