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AWS debuts Get IT skills programme to encourage more girls to consider a career in tech

Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services is continuing to expand its portfolio of training programmes and educational initiatives, with its latest one geared towards showing young girls there is more to a career in technology than they might think

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expanding its efforts to close the cloud computing skills gap in the UK and Ireland with a programme aimed at inspiring more secondary school-aged girls to consider a career in technology.

The AWS Get IT Programme is specifically designed to inspire girls 12 to 13 years old, across the UK and Ireland, to develop digital skills and – in turn – set them on a course to develop capabilities in using AWS technologies.

Programme participants will be schooled on how to use cloud technologies before building up to creating an application that can help address a “real-world” problem affecting their school or local community, with input from AWS customers, including takeaway app creators Just Eat.

A shortlist of 10 application development teams will be compiled, who will then get a chance to showcase their creations to a panel of judges at the annual AWS Summit in London in 2020.

It will then be up to the judges to decide which of these applications will be earmarked for future support and ongoing development by AWS on their behalf.

The programme’s concept was initially piloted at a number of schools across London in September 2018, and will be formally rolled out to others across the UK and Ireland during the 2019-2020 academic year, the company announced at the 2019 AWS Summit in London.

Participants will be supported during the application development process by being offered access to software development bootcamps, where they will receive guidance on how to identify a target audience for their application, and how to brainstorm and research their apps effectively.

They will also be invited along to Amazon’s offices to understand how it approaches application and product development in-house, and offered opportunities to meet with members of the female leadership team within AWS and other organisations, to gain insights into the variety of career paths that exist in IT.

The latter point is of critical importance to the success of the programme, said Andy Isherwood, vice-president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at AWS, because – without it – children might not gain an appreciation of the diverse range of career paths open to them within the technology field.

“We want to make young people aware of the huge array of career opportunities available in the technology industry today, and show them they don’t have to be deeply technical to have a successful career,” he said.

“AWS Get IT highlights the many aspects of our lives that technology touches, and will introduce young people to a multitude of career options.”

This programme is about much more than providing digital skills. It’s about helping young people to fulfil their potential
Lucy Moses, Future Foundations

The programme is the co-creation of AWS and non-profit training provider Future Foundations, which specialises in the provision of education programmes tailored to young people.

Lucy Moses, head of AWS Get IT for Future Foundations, said it is the organisations’ hope that the programme will also go some way to dispelling the myth for its participants that careers in technology are the preserve of men.

“This programme is about much more than providing digital skills. It’s about helping young people to fulfil their potential, and breaks down the stereotype that tech is a career best suited to men,” she said.

“AWS Get IT provides a strong foundation from which students can grow and learn and makes digital skills accessible to students across the country who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.”

The programme is the latest addition to a growing list of skills initiatives AWS has embarked on in recent years, which included a commitment to help train up 100,000 across Europe in cloud during 2018 alone.

In January 2017, it also debuted the Re:Start programme, which is focused on helping school children, young adults and ex-military personnel develop skills in cloud computing.

Further examples include the AWS Academy, which helps universities and enterprises train their staff in using cloud, and AWS Educate initiative, which provides universities and secondary schools with AWS credits and curriculum resources to help teach their students about cloud.

Read more about AWS and its skills initiatives

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

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