Ideagen, the Nottingham-headquartered, global software firm, is teaming up with one of the top academies in Nottingham, Nottingham Girls’ Academy, as it looks to raise career prospects for women who want a career in technology. The Ruddington-based company has joined with Nottingham Girls’ Academy as part of the ‘Ideagen Women in Tech’ programme.
Nottingham Girls’ Academy has created a careers strategy focussing on challenging gender stereotypes with the purpose on increasing the rate of girls embarking into science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) careers.
Students will conduct cloud and collaborative computing projects, complete work experience placements and take part in ‘Internet of Everything’ coursework for a product idea. There will also be curriculum learning on the fundamentals of Information Technology (IT), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, a careers networking session with Ideagen professionals and chances to win prizes through a challenging technology project. The programme also includes targeted support for students at key transition points throughout their secondary and 6th form education.
The programme with Ideagen – which is part of a wider initiative involving The Futures Group, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) and Greenwood Academies Trust – involves all year groups in the school. It will also provide digital tech expertise and experiences to the new T-Level qualification being delivered in the 6th form.
Ideagen’s CEO, Ben Dorks, who has been an Enterprise Advisor for Nottingham City Schools since 2017, insists encouraging more women into technology careers is a personal passion.
Ben Dorks, CEO of Ideagen, said: “It is vitally important that we at Ideagen, as a local employer and a successful and consistently growing technology leader in the global governance, risk and compliance (GRC) space, do all we can to encourage young people – and particularly young women – into careers in technology.
“Gender stereotypes and the low uptake on technology-related studies and subsequent careers for females are well documented. However, what firms such as ourselves can do is change that through ambitious, well planned and collaborative projects such as the Ideagen Women in Tech programme.
“This subject has been a personal passion for a number of years now, and I am delighted and privileged to be in a position to encourage more women into a career in technology.
“This is a truly fantastic initiative and I am particularly pleased to be working alongside the Nottingham Girls’ Academy in bringing this project to fruition.”
Ian Hepworth, Chief Technology Officer at Ideagen, added: “This is a fantastic project and one that is taking place in a city filled with outstanding technological talent.
“Taking a leading part in this initiative and encouraging and nurturing the talent we have on our doorstep – while smashing gender or stereotypical barriers at the same time – is a very exciting challenge and one that I am particularly looking forward to.”
The ‘Ideagen Women in Tech’ programme will see students of Nottingham Girls’ Academy take part in several sessions and projects throughout each academic year.
Jenny Saunders, Careers Leader at Nottingham Girls’ Academy, said: “We are excited to be part of this project as we know that future employment will involve our pupils building on their understanding of technology and its role in the workforce.
“This project enables a large cross section of our pupils to gain experience of how technology will impact their lives. Opening up discussions around career paths and helping our pupils reach their full potential is what we strive for at not just the Academy but at a Trust level.”
Tony Gaskell, Head of Computing and Business at the Girls’ Academy, added: “We are really looking forward to collaborating with Ideagen. Girls and women are under-represented within STEAM subjects and employment. Ideagen is ideally placed to offer a variety of unique experiences to our students both in school and at their offices. By seeing women in these roles and also becoming aware of the huge variety of tech roles that are available, this endeavour will encourage and support our girls to enter this exciting and challenging field.”
Claire Knee, Lead Enterprise Co-ordinator at The Futures Group, said: “It has been inspiring to see how the career aspirations of a school can be linked to the skills needs and culture of such a dynamic company in the form of Ideagen.
“Having the backing of Ben Dorks and the wider Ideagen team has given us the opportunity to structure a long term project that will have huge benefits for the young women in the school, as well as for Ideagen, as they attract and nurture their future workforce.”