CodeClan Working to Get More Women into Scottish Tech
Bursaries are to be offered to support women entering Scottish tech roles in a bid to help close the gender gap.
CodeClan, the UK’s first accredited digital skills academy, is targeting more female applicants for their 16-week software development course as part of an overall strategic plan to get more women employed in Scottish technology roles.
Newly appointed CEO, Melinda Matthews Clarkson, has launched a Digital Women’s Group to support this drive to get more women employed in Scottish tech jobs. CodeClan’s mission is to generate a steady stream of digital talent to meet the future needs of Scotland’s vibrant digital sector.
The overall goal is for women to total 40% of its graduating classes by 2020. This year close to 50% of the first class in Edinburgh are women, and one in four of CodeClan graduates placed in tech roles to date have been female. But Matthews Clarkson is looking to increase that number further and plans to engage with leading Scottish companies to support the bursary scheme.
Speaking about the move, Matthews Clarkson said “Narrowing the gender and diversity gap in the workplace has been unequivocally shown to increase productivity and perspective and that’s a very clear economic rationale for encouraging inclusivity in the digital economy.”
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley Anne Somerville said, “We want more people in Scotland, particularly girls and women, to embrace the opportunities offered by a career in digital.”
Maria Gutierrez, VP of Engineering at FreeAgent and director of Women Who Code said, “Ensuring that we have diversity in our team allows us to better represent our customers and also helps us explore different ways to solve problems and challenge each other to achieve greater results.
Addressing the digital skills gap
Sophie Bialaszewski, Head of Innovation Culture & Events at Lloyds Banking Group, said, “The UK still has a lot of work to do, as recent research revealed only 23% of employees in the UK tech sector are women. Our desire is to create an inclusive environment where everyone can be themselves, to build fantastic careers and in turn, provide the best customer experience.
“Action needs to be taken now to address the future digital skills gap which is estimated to grow to over 2 million jobs by 2020. The industry needs a diverse environment to tackle the gender gap in fintech by addressing unconscious bias in CV scanning, interviews, and to find the best places to advertise jobs to attract a more diverse audience.”
Collaboration is key
Clarkson Mathews added, “While one organisation can only do so much, we are confident that our working group will allow us to team up with even more advocates from the business scene. We also intend to engage with some leading Scottish companies to support a bursary scheme for women which we know will be a big difference maker.”
There has been notable progress made in promoting collaboration and establishing a support network of female leaders and role models in Scotland. Women in Technology Scotland, Equate Scotland and Girl Geek Scotland are some of the organisations already banging the drum for women in tech.
Last year, the Scotland Women in Technology Awards was also launched, recognising an incredible range of dedicated people who were actively working to further the role of women in Scotland’s tech sector.
However, the statistics demonstrate that there is still room for improvement, and Scotland needs to keep building on these positive foundations if the imbalance is to be redressed.