Today is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. This year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’ – choosing to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, choosing to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements, and choosing to create an inclusive world – a theme we feel perfectly reflects our mission and the changes we’re working to achieve by challenging the status quo.
TechTalent Academy was founded out of Janice Rae’s personal experience in the tech sector. Despite a long-standing passion and interest in tech, Janice didn’t find the sector very diverse. Fast-forward to the present day, and not much has changed. Through our academies, we help under-represented groups, including women, minority ethnic, and neurodiverse audiences, build rewarding tech careers.
Research from BCS reveals that women account for 20% of the UK’s tech workforce, while black women make up just 0.7% of the IT sector; something we’ve chosen to challenge since we were founded in July 2019.
Since we launched, we have worked with various organisations, including Immersive Labs, AWS, and the West Midlands Combined Authority to upskill 300 women in Data Science, Software Engineering, Cyber Security, and Cloud Computing. This has involved 20 academies across the four disciplines, focusing solely on women and non-binary individuals, giving them access to technical training and support to secure employment upon completion.
“Joining the Women in Software Academy really changed everything for me. It opened up a community of women in tech that I’d never witnessed before and it gave me so much confidence in my skills and abilities that I didn’t have before I joined.” – Rufaro, Women in Software Academy graduate
“I am so excited to start learning about cloud computing via the AWS re/Start program. I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity to study alongside my fellow students, via a program that supports women in tech roles. Without this opportunity, I don’t know what I would be doing, and will always be grateful for the chance they’ve given me.” – Kitty, AWS re/Start student
Our Women in Software Academy and Women in Data Academy were run in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, intending to help more women break into the region’s growing tech industry. Of the women who have completed our training in the West Midlands to date, 76% have turned their passion into a career and secured employment in the tech industry, with more students due to follow suit in the coming months. We are now preparing to run an additional three, female-only academies focusing on our Women in Data Academy and Women in Cyber Academy, which will create even more opportunities for women wanting to break into the tech sector.
“The Women in Data Academy introduced me to a much wider variety of technologies and techniques than I had previously been aware of and enabled me to approach job interviews and application letters with far more confidence. Instead of worrying about being asked questions about things I wasn’t aware of, it was empowering to see a mention of technology or being asked a question about a given technology and thinking to myself ‘I know exactly what that is.” – Emily, Women in Data Academy graduate
“Since completing the training, I have been lucky enough to find myself a job. The Talent Team was very helpful during my course and provided support with how to improve my job profile for GitHub and LinkedIn. They also supported me with my CV by showing me what was important to include/exclude.” – Fran, Women in Software Academy graduate
Things are slowly beginning to change and are heading in the right direction. The percentage of women in the UK tech industry has increased by 3% in the last twelve months, yet it’s clear that more needs to be done to accelerate this change.
However, today we want to celebrate our students. We are proud of every one of them and their contribution towards challenging the gender imbalance in the tech sector. They are role models to all women wanting to get into tech and will pave the way for future female tech workers.
So, here’s to them – Happy International Women’s Day!