Teen girls are getting the chance to do some work experience at one of more than 30 tech companies under a new programme from Teen-Turn.
In an effort to offer more teenage girls an early entry into a possible future tech career, Teen-Turn has expanded its programme to allow participants from 18 schools to get work experience at more than 30 tech companies, with plans to go international in 2018.
Each of the schools were asked to identify possible candidates and enlist others who will be invested in the participants’ progress, from Junior Cert to a job or university.
Each girl is assigned a female mentor who is working in technology at the host company to provide supervision and support, and be a role model for the students to aspire to.
This latest programme is being run in partnership with recruitment firm Hays to introduce the girls to the companies.
Now scaled nationally, it follows last year’s successful Teen-Turn pilot summer programme that saw 20 girls from five schools get some valuable work experience at nine different companies.
Participants who have completed third year are also being asked to blog and share their experiences for any girls looking to take part in the programme in the future.
‘Large-scale opening of minds’
The organisation’s co-founder, Joanne Dolan, said the purpose of Teen-Turn is to shatter the stereotypes that continue to exist, with girls and women being dissuaded from entering careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
“More girls from disadvantaged areas gaining an interest in technology career environments through Teen-Turn [is] setting into motion a large-scale opening of minds that will eventually result in the uptake of courses, qualifications and job acquisition, and change the way these neighbouring companies and communities view/interact with one another,” she said.
Meanwhile, James Milligan, IT director of Hays Ireland, said programmes such as Teen-Turn are good initiatives to help end the gender divide.
“There is currently a severe shortage of IT professionals, and encouraging girls to consider technology as a third-level qualification and a career choice is vital to the industry’s future success,” he said.
“This programme helps to address gender inequality in the technology sector and it also gives participants the chance to work with some of Ireland – and the world’s – most successful organisations.”
Updated, 7.34am, 1 August 2017: This article was updated for accuracy.