Initiative aims to recruit more women to IT

Schools are being urged to set up all-girl computer clubs as part of a government-backed programme to persuade more young women...

Schools are being urged to set up all-girl computer clubs as part of a government-backed programme to persuade more young women to consider taking up careers in IT.

The clubs, which will be tested in a number of schools this year, will set out to prove to girls that IT is exciting and fun, rather than an activity for geeks and nerdy boys.

The initiative follows growing concerns that the proportion of women entering the IT profession has fallen steadily over the past few years, despite a series of schemes and initiatives to make IT more woman-friendly.

The clubs will offer school girls a chance to use specialised software packages to work on projects in fashion, music, sports, and films and, in some cases, have their work displayed on well-known commercial Web sites.

"It means that instead of girls turning off IT at 11, they will be taking part in very exciting activities and will leave school with IT skills," said Anne Cantelo, project director at IT training body the E-Skills NTO.

Pupils at The Grey Coat Hospital, an all-girls school in London, have been helping E-Skills NTO to develop and test out the learning materials.

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