THE first “graduates” of a coding course for teenage girls from Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish schools in London have been given their awards at Twitter HQ, which has supported the ground-breaking initiative.
Twitter’s software engineers have been providing training for the girls, who were part of the UK’s first women’s cross-faith computer coding programme project, started by Rabbi Natan Levy from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, last year (News, 15 July 2015).
The initiative was set up by Near Neighbours, a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and the Archbishops’ Council, and is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
It seeks to encourage girls, all of whom were aged 12 to 14, to consider coding as a career. Women are significantly under represented in tech industries in the UK and globally.
Research published last year found that nearly a quarter of technology start-ups in London have no women on their boards, and just 11.2 per cent of leadership positions in the tech industry in Europe are occupied by women.
The executive director of Near Neighbours, Paul Hackwood, said: “This is a project that we are very proud to have supported. It has brought together girls of different faiths and enabled them to build both relationships and important skills. The project has strengthened communities and given these girls a chance at a career that had been out of reach to them before.”