Manchester Digital has announced a suite of additions to its ‘Digital Her’ programme including funded coding scholarships, summer camps and mentoring programmes for women across the region.

The independent trade body for digital and tech businesses across Greater Manchester has partnered with Code Nation to offer four fully-funded coding scholarships throughout 2020.

The aim of these scholarships will be to support women wanting to secure a role in the sector, or those that are switching career or returning to the industry following a break.

It will also be running a funded, week-long ‘curiosity camp’ in collaboration with local businesses this summer. The camp aims to support young women aged 13-15 who are interested in learning more about the history of women in tech and the career paths available to them in the industry. Participants will be mentored on how to be curious, creative, and confident.

This year, Manchester Digital will also partner with the Institute of Coding, as part of its efforts to increase diversity in tech, to upscale colleges taking part in the Digital Her programme, regionally and nationally. It has also agreed a partnership with One Million Mentors to support mentoring of the young women who took part in Manchester Digital’s 2019 Digital Her roadshows.

Due to a successful partnership in 2019, Manchester Digital has also signed BJSS as its strategic partner for the year. This will enable Manchester Digital to make an even bigger impact with its initiative throughout 2020.

The Digital Her programme, created in 2018 in response to a significant lack of women in technical roles, successfully reached over 1,200 young women across Greater Manchester in 2019.

The initiative has actively encouraged these individuals to consider pursuing a career in the region’s growing digital technology sector and cemented the future of the industry for the region.

Last year, Digital Her connected with local schools to deliver 10 roadshows across Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs. These events aimed to engage young women with tech and digital-related subjects and give them the confidence and desire to explore a digital career. The roadshows partnered with some of the biggest businesses in the region including GCHQ, Manchester Science Partnerships, AutoTrader, BJSS, Brother UK, and Manchester City Football Club.

As well as engaging over 1,200 young women, 200 educators from over 100 schools      have been upskilled and 10 work experience opportunities were gained, accumulating to nearly 500 hours of industry experience. In addition, over 68,000 employer interactions were established.

Emma Grant, Head of Talent and Skills at Manchester Digital, commented: “We’re thrilled to see how successful Digital Her was last year. The only way to solve the skills shortage is by connecting industry to education and inspiring young women to take up careers in digital and tech.

“Through the programme, we’ve seen numerous students realise that regardless of their background, or whether they take a STEM or non-STEM route, there is a career pathway that is accessible to them in our industry.

“Entry and progression into our industry often aren’t linear - which in itself brings opportunities.

“We’re looking forward to another exciting year in 2020 with our new initiatives that will make the programme bigger and better.

“We truly believe that by harnessing the power of real role models working in the sector and partnering with forward-thinking, diversity conscious businesses, is the best way to showcase what opportunities there are out there, no matter what your gender, interests, or background.

“We can’t wait to see what this year holds; we’re looking forward to working with more businesses and continuing to encourage young women across Greater Manchester into our industry.”