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#techmums uses corporate partnerships to reach a million mums by 2020

Not-for-profit #techmums hopes to give technology skills to one million mothers by 2020 through partnerships with corporate firms

The #techmums campaign has partnered with several large corporate firms with the aim of providing technology skills to one million mothers by 2020.

The not-for-profit has announced it will be collaborating with Capgemini UK, WPP agencies, Cognifide and Addison Group to reach and teach more women in the UK how to use technology.

Founder of #techmums, Sue Black, said: “This is a major step forward for #techmums and is going to mean that we can make the impact we so desperately want.”

Black set up #techmums in 2012 to provide free coding, online safety and social media training to mothers with no previous tech skills.

The widespread lack of digital skills across the UK is costing the economy approximately £63bn a year, and there are not enough skilled workers to fill IT jobs or other types of jobs that require basic digital skills.

Many of the women who take part in the #techmums programme go on to apply for jobs or decide to carry on with higher education.

Capgemini UK, WPP, Cognifide and Addison Group are offering #techmums free support to scale the charity’s efforts as part of WPP’s commitment to Common Ground – a UN-backed initiative which calls on industry to work together to tackle issues, such as a lack of gender diversity, in specific sectors.

By increasing the number of women with digital skills and encouraging them to pursue technology-based careers, the firms hope this will promote business profitability as a result of diverse thought.

Addison Group CEO Tom Robinson said the #techmums initiative not only helps to upskill women who may live in underprivileged parts of the UK “to learn the digital skills they need to secure skilled work”, but will also have an effect on their children.

The firms will help the charity to develop in areas such as online content, digital marketing and brand identity development.

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The #techmums course will be launched online in February 2017 with the aim of reaching more women who may not have the time to attend sessions in person.

Tech agency Cognifide will help #techmums to develop its digital marketing strategy and digital content as part of its online push.

The director of talent at Cognifide, Alex Anders, who is leading the project, said: “Supporting #techmums means bridging the skills gap in the tech industry and opening up women’s career perspectives by teaching them to code. As our Cognifide developers always say, you can change the world by coding.”

The technology industry is often subject to stereotyping, with many of particular genders, ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds feeling it is not the career for them.

Black was a 25-year-old single mother from a poor background when she began her technology training, and has told Computer Weekly the industry is gradually breaking down these stereotypes.

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