A new women-only apprenticeship is seeking to challenge the idea that working in tech is ‘the preserve of the privileged’.
I-FIT, which was a finalist in this year’s Google Impact Challenge, is now taking applications. Open to all women over the age of 18 who have passed their Leaving Cert, successful participants will be employed by a company for the duration of the programme, benefiting from on-the-job learning.
Training will also be provided beyond the office walls with the City of Dublin Education and Training Board in Liberties College.
Both the in-office facilitated learning and educational training given will be sponsored by VRAI, a Dublin-based content creation company specialising in virtual and augmented reality production. Its flagship product, Heat, provides high-hazard training and development using VR along with AI reporting and analytics.
Apprentices will learn new software development skills in what promises to be a supportive learning environment, while also contributing to VRAI’s product development and tech innovation in the workplace.
Commenting on the scheme, VRAI managing directors Niall Campion and Pat O’Connor said: “We hope to provide opportunities to women who want to be in tech, but who have never had the opportunity to pursue it.
“Sometimes working in tech can be the preserve of the privileged and we want to ensure the industry is open to anyone who wants to work in it and has the aptitude. Diversity and inclusion are not just about gender and ethnicity, it is also about diversity of mindset, of culture, of background.”
Campion and O’Connor added that the Central Statistics Office reports approximately 117,800 people working in jobs that utilise STEM skills, but that the proportion of women employed in such roles is less than a quarter.
FIT operations manager Edel Hesnan said: “Participating companies aim to attract and grow the female tech talent pipeline while enabling apprentices to ‘earn while they learn’.
“Tech apprenticeships are endorsed by the Apprenticeship Council and are supported by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, who is responsible for programme delivery. With such key stakeholder collaboration, the diversity of our tech workforce is a priority.”