MPs have been shown how to code by more than 100 school girls at Westminster Palace, as part of Girls Get Coding.
The event, organised by e-skills UK, and the Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR), brought together students and teachers from forty schools across the UK to take part in coding challenges with MPs.
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Aged between nine and 12 years old, the girls taught MPs to code a computer game before presenting them with a certificate for their achievement.
The students learnt their coding skills through Girls Get Coding, which is part of the Government’s Your Life campaign and designed to increase students studying STEM subjects by over 50% in the next three years.
At the event the girls had the chance to meet women in the industry, including IT graduates, apprentices and business women from companies such as BT, Cisco, Accenture, Vodafone, HSBC, HP, Co-operative Group, and JP Morgan.
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: “Women have a significant contribution to make to the UK’s tech sector and it is vital for the economy that they have the opportunity to do so. Employers care deeply about the gender imbalance and are committed to taking action to improve it.
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“Girls Get Coding is one way that employers are inspiring the next generation of young women about the opportunities opened up by digital skills. I’m grateful to the government and Elizabeth Truss in particular, for supporting this valuable initiative.”
Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: “From September, every student will learn how to code in the classroom so they can create their own programmes and unlock the limitless potential of technology.
“With this new curriculum and our Your Life campaign showing them the possibilities at their fingertips, we want to inspire the next generation of hi-tech innovators and entrepreneurs.”
Stephen Mosley, co-chair of Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum, and Conservative MP for City of Chester said: “It’s very encouraging to see how Get Girls Coding is inspiring young women about tech. The excitement in the lead-up to today has been palpable, and I'm glad to be a part of a valuable and enjoyable initiative that is focused on tackling the gender imbalance in tech education and careers.”
Clive Selley, CEO BT Technology, Service and Ops said: “The tech workforce - being 85% male - is missing out on half the talent pool, and tens of thousands of girls and women are missing out on great career opportunities.
“BT is pleased to be working with other employers through e-skills UK to inspire more girls to enter the digital world. Girls Get Coding is a great way to get young girls excited about “the possibilities opened up by digital skills.”