1st Jun 2012
Northgate initiative aims to close ICT’s gender gap
A Northern Ireland business is aiming to bridge the gender gap in employment impacting on the ICT sector here.
Service provider Northgate Managed Services is helping almost 800 girls aged 10-14 consider future careers in the sector through the CC4G (Computer Club for Girls) project.
Developed by e-skills UK with funding from Northgate it is operating in 40 schools across Northern Ireland and is designed to encourage girls to participate in ICT from an early age.
The initiative enhances their ICT skills through a series of carefully-graded challenges themed around their interests such as fashion, music, sport and celebrity. According to teacher feedback the club is not only supporting the girls' learning in ICT and across the curriculum, but it is also helping to build their confidence and self esteem.
Andy Ross, chief executive, of Northgate Managed Services, said: "As a leading ICT services provider to all schools in NI, we understand how technology underpins every aspect of learning. Initiatives such as CC4G are vital if we are to capture the imagination of our children and stimulate their interest for the future. Not only will this help them as individuals, but will also be of long term benefit to the economy as a whole."
Holy Trinity Primary in north Belfast is one of the schools running the CC4G and Department for Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, recently visited to see it in operation.
He said: "The ICT sector is very important to the success of the NI economy and I support this initiative which aims to encourage young girls to consider this sector for a future career. Research shows that 92% of those participating in the Computer Clubs 4 Girls said they would consider studying ICT at GCSE, A Level or degree level, and I hope that some of the participants here today will enjoy a career in ICT in the future.
"ICT is a growth sector for our local economy. It affects every aspect of our lives - not just through the things we use every day like our mobile phones, social media channels and computers but it's vital in so many other sectors, such as engineering and medicine."