Code Girl: Getting girls into STEM careers

Code Girls
Code Girls

A 'Code Girls' day to inspire young women to pursue careers in tech was organised by Brighton and Hove Albion's charity last month.

At an event held in partnership with American Express, Year 8 girls from Patcham High School were tasked with dismantling and reassembling computers, as part of a technology initiative held at the Amex Stadium on April 26.

The Code Girls sessions encourage young women to take up STEM subjects at school

The Code Girls sessions encourage young women to take up STEM subjects at school

The session forms part of a five-week Code Girls programme designed to engage more girls in technology and encourage students to choose STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at school and as future careers.

Since the launch in 2012, more than 400 girls from schools across Sussex have attended the Code Girls programme.

Sessions are delivered by engineers, product owners and UX designers from the American Express Technology team, local businesses including IT First and video production company Major Minor Media.

Students gain a basic understanding of coding and the role women have played in the development of coding. Through practical and interactive tasks, they explore HTML code and how it is used to setup, design and develop functionality of a website.

A tour of the American Express office at 1 John Street, also gives students an opportunity to see how technology is utilised within the workplace and the girls are introduced to a wide range of technology based roles at a bespoke Digital Careers Fair.

Vanessa Hackett, vice president in the American Express Technology team, said: “This is an innovative and interactive programme designed to create excitement about technology.

"We’ve seen students’ confidence grow significantly as they gain hands-on experience and connect with women who work in tech.

"Technology moves fast and key to the programme’s success is its continued evolution to ensure a fun and relevant learning experience. We hope the programme will inspire more young girls to undertake STEM subjects at school and consider pursuing a tech career in the future.”

Rosie Day, a Year 10 student from Shoreham Academy participated in the Code Girls programme last year.

Since attending the sessions, Rosie was inspired to take Computer Science as one of her GCSE subjects.

Rosie said: “I asked my mum and dad if they would get me software I used on the course for my birthday present, which I use to create artwork and animations for my art coursework. I have a real passion for digital creativity now.

"After GCSEs, I hope to stay on at sixth form for my A Levels, then attend university. I want to study something that encompasses art and computers perhaps in the film industry. I hope that you continue your work with girls my age, because I feel that more people should have the opportunity to be inspired in the same way that I have been.”