Deputy Lord Mayor meets young women on course for careers in IT industry
9 Aug 2019
Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Peter McReynolds visited Belfast Metropolitan College today to meet more than 30 girls aged 15 to 18 who graduated from a special IT summer camp, aimed at helping them develop skills and get their foot on the ladder of a career in this lucrative and rapidly growing industry.
The free-of-charge week-long 'Belfast IT Girls' camp ran from August 5 to 9 at Belfast Met’s state of the art Titanic Quarter Campus. It was aimed at helping young women – who are dramatically underrepresented in the industry - to develop their creative digital skills and enrich their knowledge of ICT. The young women participated in workshops centred on skills such as developing games using MakeCode Arcade, cyber security and creating digital content.
The students also got the chance to meet, chat with and learn from successful women in the IT and digital related disciplines from sponsoring organisations such as Hays, Liberty IT, EY, Options, PWC and the NI Civil Service. The initiative was also sponsored by the DfE funded Bring IT On programme and Invest NI.
Director of Curriculum and Learner Success at Belfast Met, Dr Jonathan Heggarty MBE said: “We are delighted that we have run this very popular summer camp for the past five years. The goal of Belfast IT Girls is to help participants to hone their digital skills and introduce them to leading professionals so that they get a taste of what it is like to work in the IT sector. There is a huge demand for talent in this growth area, and this reflected in Belfast Met’s wide range of courses and apprenticeships developed in conjunction with industry. We designed this programme with industry partners in order to encourage female students to consider future education and employment within the exciting world of digital technologies. It is vital that the under representation of females in the UK ICT sector and in education is addressed and Belfast Met, which is a leader in IT education and training, is keen to support efforts in addressing this.”
Victoria Porter, who participated in the programme a few years ago said it helped her decide a career in IT was for her: “The programme gave me an insight into various careers in IT. I was introduced to software that is used by the company I work for, so having that head start was useful. I enjoyed the game and web development portion of the programme the most and this helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in technology. I'm currently on a summer placement working between Automation and Data Analytics teams and some of the things I learned at Belfast IT girls underpins the real-life work that I do on a regular basis.”