Code First Girls partners leading firms to tackle gender gap

Social enterprise Code First Girls has agreed corporate partnerships with companies including Rolls Royce’s R2 Data Labs, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Aviva, BT and Dell Technologies aimed at closing the gender gap in technology.

The partnerships will see Code First Girls provide up to £10,000 of free education to every woman undertaking a course.

The organisation said the new partnerships bring a breadth and depth of industries that can access Code First Girls courses, including engineering, telecommunications, software solutions, insurance, banking, and media.

The collaboration with the 14 corporate partners will support the delivery of technology training for women including its new 12-week Nanodegree programme, which specifically trains women for jobs including software developers.

The partnerships will also provide female staff with mentorship programmes to build confidence and upskilling programmes.

Code First Girls said the partnerships have been designed to support women who are entering a tough job market or have been made redundant to achieve employability at a time where the pandemic is having regressive consequences on gender equality.

The organisation also warned that failure to bridge the tech skills gap could result in £141.5 billion of lost GDP growth.

Free courses available under the programme include:

Nanodegrees: Open by application and interview to high potential women, who want a career in data or software. Course includes Python, SQL and building end-to-end systems and at the end of the twelve week programme, candidates will have the chance to work with one of Code First Girls’ partner companies.

Classes: Designed to provide fundamental grounding in web development, python or data, across 50 universities and other locations across the UK. The course provides live demonstrations and application through in-class exercises. Learners build innovative tech projects to kick start their online developer portfolio.

Open online courses: Designed in short segments to impart technical skills, confidence or career discovery. They can be delivered for maximum social reach to women of all ages through social media platforms including YouTube.

Suzanne Janse van Rensburg, managing Director, global technology executive at Bank of America said: “Through our long-standing partnership with Code First Girls, we have been able to make a real impact to achieving gender parity in the industry. Technology plays a huge role in what we do at Bank of America and we are committed to fostering a truly diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent.”

The full list of new partnerships includes Rolls-Royce’s R² Data Labs, BT, Dell Technologies, Aviva, DAZN, Avast, Beazley, Greensill, Jezby Ventures, Medidata Solutions, Just Eat and Revmo. Expanded partnerships include Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

Anna Brailsford, chief executive at Code First Girls said: “At a time when women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, our priority is to help women achieve fair employment in the tech industry.

“We have seen a vast increase in interest for our courses, since the first lockdown, with over 800 percent growth in registrations for classes. Through these new and expanded corporate partnerships, we’re able to provide more women than ever with the opportunities to learn coding, build confidence through mentorship and gain access to a wide range of careers in technology.”

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