In September 2014 the UK became the first G20 country to include computing and coding in the curriculum from primary school onwards.

While only a few of these students may have an interest in becoming computer scientists or software engineers, digital literacy is set to be hugely beneficial in a world where technology becomes embedded deeper and deeper into the world around us.

However the problem remains that as these students grow older, certain demographics distance themselves from opportunities for successful careers in Tech. A report by the education trust Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) found that only 15 per cent of applicants to computing courses were female, while the percentage of women employed as IT and Telecoms professionals in the UK has declined from 22 per cent in 2001 to just 18 per cent in 2011. This comes as a recent study from employer body The Tech Partnership revealed just 16 per cent of the IT industry is made up of women and the gender gap is worsening.

However, despite depressing statistics, some believe that change is on the horizon and young females, in particular, are beginning to realise the prospects available to them in IT.

Wolf IT female IT apprentices

First launched in 2013 by software development firm Wolf Group, the Wolf Academy is an IT training initiative in North Shields that has recently seen positive growth in the number of female IT apprentices through its doors. The academy has recently achieved a significant milestone, with 20 per cent of their apprentices being female.

Setup to help combat the IT skills shortage, the Wolf Academy offers training to meet a range growing digital needs that are typically in short supply such as the skills required for roles such as programmers, developers and analysts.

Four months into her IT apprenticeship, Amy 17, has built up a surplus of transferable knowledge, skills and experience she believes will be crucial to her in landing her first full-time job.

Amy said: “I’m beginning to feel a lot more prepared to enter full-time employment. There was a lot of pressure to go to university after school and a misconception that the best jobs are saved just for those with degrees.

“I can say from first-hand experience that this isn’t the case and would urge more teenage girls, like myself, to consider taking up apprenticeships in the IT industry.”

Laura, who has been an apprentice at the academy since January, added: “Recently there’s been far more in the news about women becoming involved in Technology.

“There should be more women in IT, there should be more information accessible in schools and colleges about apprenticeships and the different areas you can go into”.

Tech is a sector without a gender pay gap and almost every industry imaginable requires skilled IT professionals. It’s hoped through further high profile campaigning and initiatives to broaden its appeal, the technology sector can become less male-dominated and a more appealing career option for young women.

Currently the Wolf Academy has around 16 apprentices enrolled on its programme. It’s hoped the initiative will not only reduce unemployment but also help to create and sustain a reputation for innovation, technology and software development in the region.

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