Bank of America Merrill Lynch has launched a partnership with Code First Girls, aiming to embolden 20,000 girls in the UK and Ireland to pursue a career in tech.
The scheme, called Code First Girls 2020, hopes to change the face of the tech industry and address the current gender disparity seen in the UK and Ireland. In the UK in 2017, only 14pc of university students accepted into a computer science programme were women.
Over the past three years, Code First Girls has taught more than 5,000 women how to code completely free of charge. Alumnae from the programme have gone on to nab prestigious positions in companies such as NASA, Accenture, ThoughtWorks, BlaBlaCar and The Guardian.
BofAML will offer vital financial support to Code First Girls so that it can expand the programme, as well as provide its own technologists to train girls.
Coding training will also be rolled out to the bank’s own female employees who are interested in learning how to code.
This new development will mark an expansion of a pre-existing partnership between the banking giant and Code First Girls – the two organisations have previously collaborated on panels and workshops about career development and fintech, among other subjects.
This new scheme comes at a time when, despite the fact that Ireland has Europe’s fastest-growing tech worker population, the gender ratio within computer science is still disproportionately skewed towards men.
Commenting on the expanded partnership, Allison Krill, head of EMEA global banking and markets technology at BofAML, said: “Technology innovation is key to driving transformation within business, but the need for diverse technical talent is not yet met by the number of qualified people entering the workforce.
“We are therefore very proud to be supporting [the] Code First Girls 2020 campaign. Our employees across Ireland and the UK look forward to working closely with the participants to share their knowledge, skills and advice to help bridge the gap for early-career switchers into tech.”
Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First Girls, added: “The lack of tangible role models for women looking to build a career in tech creates a psychological barrier to entry and, through this partnership, we are working hard to put an end to that.
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch is an innovative company committed to diversity, and shares many common goals with our organisation.”