July 17, 2018 11:27 am

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#WomenInTech are a thing, and they’re visiting some of our schools in East London.

Jen Cleary, from our London team, shares the exciting visits some of our East London schools have had over the recent weeks.

It’s been a busy last few weeks of the academic year at turn IT on with end of year computing projects, curriculum training sessions and new schemes of work to write across our schools. London has been no different – and it has been fantastic to top it all off with two careers talks from some female tech industry experts.

When it comes to careers getting at them early, before they start to build any preconceived notions about gender roles, is key. Research suggests that only 17% of technology-specific jobs are held by women and that parents and teachers outdated concept of ‘female’ and ‘male’ jobs is damaging the chances of girls choosing to work in science, technology and engineering industries.

By providing Primary age children with female role models, preferably younger ones at the start of their careers, we can inspire all children to consider STEM for their future. Most of today’s jobs didn’t even exist 15 years ago, so it’s crucial that we start talking about the breadth of jobs available to girls now so that they can become the future leaders of tomorrow.

That’s why I asked Tara Thompson to visit us at Harrington Hill Primary School in Hackney, to talk a bit about what she does as a senior account manager at That Lot (a creative social media agency). It was a fantastic morning, in which she told us loads about the graphics, animations, videos and infographics that she helps to create for her clients and pushes out on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

After her talk, the students had loads of fun trying to come up with their own viral video concept for Nando’s new super spicy sauce.

Q: What is a Nando’s chicken’s favourite band?

A: The Spice Girls.

The following week I was thrilled to ask Lydia Ralph, a software developer at BBC Weather, to talk at Hague Primary in Tower Hamlets. She told us about how she started to work in tech and explained how the BBC Weather website works in conjunction with data scientists and the app on your phone.

The students explored the ways that information is asked for and generated for different locations by breaking into different groups (renderers, messengers, scientists and brokers) and trying to pass the weather data into different buckets before sorting it for the customer. What at first seemed like a lot of complicated concepts for year 6 became clear and understandable for all by the end of the session.

Interested in having a #womanintech speak at your school? Why not see first if you know anyone who is working in the industry and willing to come in. Failing that why not give a shout out on the school website or twitter feed, ask your turn IT on consultant who will be happy to help where they can. There’s plenty of women out there, passionate about their subject and about encouraging more girls to consider tech for a future career path. Be sure to tweet us @TurnITonSupport and tell us about it!

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