Written by: Mica on March 12, 2020Tags: Meet the Members, Member News, Women in Tech
That was definitely the feeling we got last week while attending the Northcoders Campus Launch party.
With what can only be described as an electric buzz in the air, over 100 friends of the tech world came together to celebrate the huge achievements of Northcoders, and their migration into Manchester’s Technology Centre, based in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district.
A close partner of InnovateHer, and more importantly good friends of ours, NorthcodersNorth is a coding school with an ethos and track record like no other.
Not only do they passionately educate with no prejudice, but they also ensure that they open the door to employment opportunities for their graduates, with a huge 96% of their graduates finding work in the tech industry right after graduating.
Keen to connect with guests, Amul Batra, Director at NorthcodersNorth, took to the stage in an outfit almost as bold as his personality (almost!)
He spoke of exciting things to come for NorthcodersNorth, including the announcement that they’ve removed the cost to hiring partners completely to hire their graduates, and started to offer bespoke training within partner companies to take their junior graduates into mid and senior-level development roles. Amul also announced that they are rolling out an NVQ level 4 qualification which will last over 12 months and provide certification. Very exciting news and exemplary innovations from a company that continues to go from strength to strength.
Secondly, speaking from her first-hand experience, Katie Robinson, a Northcoders graduate who is now thriving in a development role at Moonpig, gave a truly authentic insight into her experience of navigating the tech world and her time with Northcoders. We were all inspired by the journey she’d been on!
Of course, the seamless migration to Northcoders’ new space wouldn’t have been possible without Tom Renn, MD at Bruntwood Science and Tech. He spoke of Bruntwood’s ongoing support of the work Northcoders are doing to plug the digital skills gap and his high hopes for the future of their partnership. Bruntwood is also a supporter of the work we do at InnovateHer, so we enjoyed feeling part of the family too.
A highlight of the night for us was, of course, was seeing our very own Jo Morfee take to the stage.
Jo relayed that only 19% of roles in tech are currently held by women. Not only is this due to lack of role models for young girls, but a huge lack of awareness in schools about the available pathways into the sector, coupled with fundamental issues with the curriculum provision around digital skills. This is what led to us developing our school program in 2016, which is now delivered in all 10 boroughs across Greater Manchester, in over 60 schools.
She highlighted the importance of retaining diverse talent in the tech industry too, by making workplaces a healthy environment for minority groups to flourish and grow within. After all, what is the point of getting the girls ready for the tech world, if the tech world isn’t ready for those girls?
Jo talked about the importance of having disruptive conversations to challenge some of the issues we have with workplace culture, immediately demonstrating this by calling on the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham to consider ‘doing digital differently’ by helping to make Greater Manchester the most diverse and inclusive tech sector in the UK.
Finally, she ended with a call to everyone to take action, saying; ‘It is everyone’s responsibility to drive the agenda of fairness and equality forward, not just those of us at InnovateHer and Northcoders. Be an ally. Be a mentor. Be a champion.’ And with that, I think it’s fair to say that our Co-Founder Jo left a lasting impact on the room.
Last but not least, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham took the stage with a true Northern flourish! Capturing the undivided attention of everyone in the room, he compared the growth of Northcoders as a similar trajectory to the story of the growth of the city of Manchester and emphasized the need to have diversity and inclusion high on the agenda to create opportunities for local people. Andy was more than happy to receive the iconic Northcoders’ hoodie at the end of his speech!
Sure the vegan pasta was very tasty, the ice-cold drinks refreshing and bright cupcakes irresistible, but what was best about this event was the mutual consensus and feeling of positivity that permeated through the room all night.
Whilst Northcoders and InnovateHer are making huge strides towards introducing and educating people of different genders, cultures, and backgrounds in tech and digital skills, our fight isn’t over until workplaces have the ideal environment to retain this talent. We’re looking forward to working closely with Northcoders this year on a number of initiatives to make some changes to the sector; including delivering a workshop to their hiring partner network on Diversity and Inclusion and promoting a financial aid scheme for underrepresented groups to access their boot camp.
If you’d be interested in joining our partner network like Northcoders, please contact us to find out more. We’d love to hear from you.Back to news and views