Former BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter and TeenTech founder Maggie Philbin has joined forces with Network Rail to help dispel myths about working in IT, whilst encouraging more girls to pursue a tech-related career.
Maggie is helping Network Rail launch the second year of its award-winning Could IT Be You? competition for girls, which was set up in 2013 by the company’s chief information officer, Susan Cooklin.
According to the employer body e-skills UK, the number of women working in the IT industry in Britain is falling dramatically. In the 1980s it was as high as 38% but by 2011 has fallen to just 17%. Every year the IT and telecoms professional workforce requires almost 21,000 new entrants directly from education, but at present, only 15% of students on IT-related degrees in the UK are female.
Commenting on why girls aren’t choosing the technology path, Maggie Philbin said:
“With the world of technology, and the opportunities within it, hurtling forward at lightning speed – it is so important that we support girls getting into IT careers and show how they too can help drive this industry forward. Projects like this are a fantastic way of getting young women excited about the opportunities that are out there and showcasing exactly how they can turn their passion into a valuable, exciting career.”
Susan Cooklin, Network Rail’s chief information officer and founder of Could IT Be You?, said:
“Popular culture has helped create a perception among young women that a career in IT is all about writing code in basement offices – the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The winners from last year’s competition all showed a creative mind for solving problems and good communications, and these are the skills that business leaders are after. Technology plays an absolutely crucial role in moving 4m people by rail in Britain, safely and reliably, every day. This competition is a great way to help young women realise what a career in IT is really about and the fantastic career opportunities that a company like Network Rail can offer.”
For more information, please visit: www.coulditbu.co.uk.