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Pupils taking part in the InnovateHer project

Inspiring technical project being delivered at Kirkby High School

by Gemma Melling

Female tech experts of the future are being encouraged to aim high thanks to a new project working with students at Kirkby High School.

The group of 13 girls are taking part in the ‘InnovateHer’ project, which is designed to give them both the skills and confidence they need to pursue a successful career in technology.

More women are needed in tech based careers in our region

Right now, only 20% of people working in technical roles in the Liverpool City Region are women.  That’s why The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has teamed up with local social enterprise InnovateHer to deliver a programme in schools across the City Region (in one school per local authority area), aimed at getting more girls into the digital tech sector and addressing the digital skills gap. It is supported by the Mayoral Priority Fund.

The pupils at Kirkby High School are now half way through the eight week programme and they are in the prototyping stages of building an app, supported by mentors from local industry.

Rochelle Conefrey, Head Teacher at Kirkby High School, said “I’m really pleased to support this programme here at Kirkby High School. I know from the feedback received that the girls are really progressing well and enjoying learning new skills in the technical arena. I look forward to seeing their new-found skills through the app they are developing. Good luck!”

Inspiring girls to choose STEM subjects

The aim of the programme is to inspire the girls to choose Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) related subjects at GCSE and A level.

The InnovateHer programme also aims to address the gap between the digital skills the industry requires and those that schools currently offer and to give girls an insight into careers in the tech sector.

As well as careers advice and mentoring, the programme covers in demand tech and digital skills such as UX design, programming, persona mapping, pitching and marketing.  It also focuses on building confidence and improving self-belief through mentoring.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “We know that girls are doing really well academically at school and often outperforming boys but they are still hugely under-represented in the digital and tech sector. As a city region, we cannot afford to miss out on this huge pool of talent and that is why this project is potentially so important. Through this programme, we are engaging with girls to spark their interest and give them the self-confidence to choose to study STEM-related subjects.”

Jo Morfee, co-founder of InnovateHer, added “Traditionally, there has been a perception that girls aren’t suited to technology-based roles. Gender-bias is instilled in girls from school age in many ways. However, nowadays, digital skills are needed in every business, whatever the sector and we need to ensure that girls aren’t missing out.”

To find out more about the programme, visit the InnovateHer website.