Computer clubs for girls proving successful

Staff working on a project that aims to get more girls into IT say their message is getting through.

Staff working on a project that aims to get more girls into IT say their message is getting through.

The IT sector skills council e-skills came up with the scheme, called Computer Clubs for Girls (CC4G), to show girls aged 11 to 14 how the subject underpins much of their lives and move it away from its "geeky" image.

Pupils log on to a website and take part in activities such as creating fashion magazines, learning about IT through these tasks.

UK employers have also been involved since the project's launch in 2004, providing role models for the girls and answering their questions about the technology world. There is a wide ranging movement in the IT industry to get more women involved.

Jayne Miles, IT infrastructure manager at Ford, said, "CC4G is great because it is looking at the gender imbalance in the IT industry in the UK. Ford is no different to the rest of the industry in having around 19% of its IT staff being women."

She said that it is not just the pupils who learn from the clubs. "Volunteers provide role models for the girls, but we also tend to learn things ourselves."

Debbie Cowley, head of ICT at secondary school Kent College, has included the club in the curriculum. The number of girls studying IT GCSE at the college has trebbled in five years.

She said, "I think it does make more girls consider IT as a career because it makes it seem more fun. And because it is so fun for them they are learning and thinking about IT without realising it."

Jayne Miles said she is hopeful about the project's success. "The proof is still a few years away because we need to see how many girls will actually go onto study at university and go into the profession. But I do have confidence that it will cause more girls to think about a career in IT."

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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