Making a decision on your future career or choice of university degree at age 18 can be daunting for anyone. If you are female and/or from a lower social-economic or minority economic background, with parents whose expectations for your future life differ from yours, it is especially challenging.
The tech sector has traditionally been male dominated, exacerbated by the reluctance of female students to choose STEM (science, technology and maths) subjects. However, this year, the number of female students sitting A-levels in STEM subjects overtook male students, GCSE results in computing were encouraging and, although girls are outnumbered nearly 4 to1 by boys, they outperformed them.
Whilst there is hope that these results will drive an increase in women on the boards of tech companies in future, a survey by agency Inclusive Boards showed that currently only 12.6% of board members in the tech sector were women, compared with the 30% on the boards of FTSE 100 businesses.
In an effort to drive diversity in the industry, the UK government is offering a second chance: an option to retrain in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and data science. It is investing:
- Up to £13.5 million new funding for an extra 2500 artificial intelligence and data science conversion degrees, with 1000 scholarships for people from underrepresented groups.
- £5 million in a government fund to drive innovation in adult online learning.
This approach highlights the government’s commitment to boost gender diversity in the tech sector and harness new technologies to upskill and retrain adults.
Read more about the government plans here.