InnovateHer was set up four years ago to inspire more girls into science, technology and engineering careers and is now offering online sessions during the coronavirus lockdown. Tony McDonough reports
A Liverpool-based social enterprise that inspires girls to consider careers in science and tech is taking its coaching programme online during the coronavirus lockdown.
InnovateHer was set up four years ago in response to the poor representation of women in sectors such as science, technology and engineering. It has so far worked with 50 schools across the North West and engaged with more than 1,000 girls.
However, last month the coronavirus outbreak forced InnovateHer to suspend all face-to-face training in schools. Now it is launching its six-week Foundation in Tech for Good course which will provides girls aged 13 to 16 with an opportunity to continue to learn tech skills safely while in isolation.
They will be solving real-world problems related to the current global pandemic using technology. Girls are guided through the content by inspiring industry mentors, accessing coaching sessions online each week as part of a cohort of like-minded girls. All mentors are DBS checked.
InnovateHer co-founder Chelsea Slater, said: “We’ve always wanted to launch our educational offer online as it enables us to extend our reach to those living outside of the North West. With everyone being told to stay at home now we felt we needed to do something positive to support girls in isolation, so it felt like the right time to develop an online course.
“InnovateHer has been a labour of love. We have built a fantastic community who are passionate about supporting more females to have careers within the tech sector. Offering our resources online gives us the ability to continue our mission; to get girls ready for the tech industry and the tech industry ready for girls.”
Developed in collaboration with industry partners, learners will be guided by a coach through weekly challenges, giving them an opportunity to develop new skills such as design, prototyping, teamwork and pitching. Girls will build their confidence and self-belief through connecting with industry role models and other like-minded girls.
Students will enter their tech idea into a competition, to be in with a chance of winning work experience at one of InnovateHer’s member organisations. InnovateHer’s member network includes SONY, Very group, Liverpool Football Club, The Co-op, Code Computer Love and many more.
Plans are also in the pipeline to extend InnovateHer’s online offer to its members through online events and workshops, to help them continue with their diversity and inclusion practices.
InnovateHer is also exploring partnerships to provide devices to those girls who may not currently be able to access the course from home, and providing some free places to those who cannot afford to pay for the programme.