FDM Celebrates Girls in ICT Day 2019

John Smith

Taking place on the final Thursday in April every year, Girls in ICT Day gives young women around the world the chance to discover the world of technology with the aim of inspiring pupils to feel empowered and encourage them to consider studies and careers in the ever-growing ICT field.

Some of our FDM centres across the globe hosted local schools for a day of technology-fuelled activities and for students to find out more about what a future career in the industry could entail for them.

Our Leeds centre took part in the #GirlTechLCR event which welcomed students from across the area to participate in employer-led workshops, panels and presentations. The aim was to increase awareness of potential career paths within the tech and digital industry, whilst raising aspirations to pursue them.

FDM team members Chris Brooks, Deborah Jaffer and Jo Wilson led workshops which gave students a thorough understanding of Software Development through a hands-on coding activity. This involved using Python to generate information such as the individual’s name and age from the code they input. Melik Cinar also used JavaScript to programme Microbits which students used to move Bitbots around a race course.

Both activities proved to be a fun and an interactive way to show students what coding can do, with one student describing the day as a “great and enjoyable learning experience”. It was great to see like-minded businesses and students come together and work towards a common goal of breaking down barriers and getting more women in tech.

Over in Canada, our Toronto team hosted a workshop and challenge for 20 students from a local high school. The day consisted of breakfast, a Cyber Security Lecture, followed by an Object Oriented Programming Lecture to introduce the challenge. The students were then broken off into small groups and were given one hour to complete the challenge.

The challenge was to make Finch Robots dance to music using code. After a fun-filled morning, the pupils were provided with lunch and hosted a robot dance-off. While the judges deliberated, FDM staff held a presentation on Women in Tech followed by the Awards Presentation. Each member of the winning team won a $25 Visa gift card.

The students then went on a tour of the FDM Toronto office before departing for the day, hopefully with high hopes and aspirations to one day take the first step into discovering a career in ICT and technology.

Up in Glasgow, the academy invited in students from a local high school and held several workshops and activities. The day started out with Academy Trainer, Fiona McKerral, leading a pro-skills workshop with the girls to focus on presentation skills. Fiona talked to the group about overcoming presentation nerves and features of good and bad presentations. At the end of the session, they presented back in groups good vs bad presentations. Speaking about the session, Fiona said: “I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and confidence.”

After a tasty pizza lunch where the students and teachers could take a break and relax, the afternoon began with Technical Glasgow Academy Trainer June talking to the pupils about getting into the technology section of their Girls in ICT Day. June helped the girls build a web page made up of three files to create one simple online page to show the students how to produce interactive content on a web page.

The session involved a lot of debugging and this gave the pupils the chance to get an insight into what it would be like to be a programmer. June said: “The students were incredibly enthusiastic and focused on the project, I really hope they stay interested and inquire about following on a career in the technical field in the future.”

Being a part of Girls in ICT Day was not only beneficial to the young students who took part, but also to our staff who were able to see what aspects of a career in technology and ICT came across as intimidating to young people. Students were able to quiz our staff about their careers, how they got into their roles and to also answer any related questions about technology and IT. FDM is proud to be able to take part in Girls in ICT Day, and we hope we’ve been able to inspire some young minds.

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