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January 12, 2015

Accenture event targets tech industry’s gender gap

Firm teams up with Schools North East and Stemettes to encourage girls to develop career in technology.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Accenture is encouraging school girls to work in the technology sector, as it looks to narrow the gap between men and women in the workplace.

The IT consultancy firm has teamed up with Stemettes, an organisation set up to combat the lack of women in STEM, and Schools North East to host a workshop and career event this Friday.

The event, #NEDigitalGirls, will see eleven- to thirteen-year-olds from the North East attend a range of talks, workshops and demonstrations designed to showcase opportunities available to women in the technology industry.

The workshops will focus on web development, 3D printing and forensic science among other subjects, while demonstrations of Google Glass will also be available, along with virtual showroom technology from video developer Eutechnyx.

The event will also see women from Accenture, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Newcastle University, The Wellcome Trust and Schools North East provide five minute "lightening" talks on their career in technology.

These include Formula 1 Williams test driver Susie Wolff; Countdown’s Carol Vorderman; Trudy Norris-Grey, general manager, Central and Eastern Europe, Microsoft; and TalkTalk CEO Baroness Dido Harding.

It comes amid growing concerns about the need to attract more women to the tech sector. Currently only 17% of the UK’s tech jobs are held by women.

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Emma McGuigan, managing director of Technology at Accenture UK & Ireland, said: "Accenture believes that businesses need to collaborate with the education sector to tackle the technology skills gap."

"There is a shortage of women joining the technology sector, but if we can work together to ignite girls’ interest in technology from an early age, we can help to address this challenge and ensure that the UK is equipped with the skills we need to compete in the digital economy."

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, added: "It is by seeing young girls and women succeeding in digital courses and careers that more young girls and women will be encouraged to take up these rewarding and economically critical careers."

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