On 28 June, Silicon Republic will host Teen-Turn’s ‘Mentorship and the power of influence on the next generation of women in technology’ event at Huckletree.
Teen-Turn is an initiative that began in 2016, and places girls in second-level education from disadvantaged areas into two-week summer technology internships with companies located close to them. In 2017, it was awarded European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year.
On 28 June, Silicon Republic is hosting a special Teen-Turn event at Huckletree on Pearse Street to introduce more women in technology to the concept, and to identify potential mentors and company sponsors.
Teen-Turn is a volunteer-led charity that works with companies throughout Ireland to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) role models, and to offer hands-on experience in STEM to teen girls from disadvantaged areas.
‘As well as addressing the crucial issue of social inclusion in the STEM arena, Teen-Turn also addresses gender disparity in the industry and indeed the skills gap’
– ANN O’DEA
“This means that as well as addressing the crucial issue of social inclusion in the STEM arena, Teen-Turn also addresses gender disparity in the industry and indeed the skills gap,” said Silicon Republic CEO and Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea, also a Teen-Turn board member and chair of the June event.
Within two years, Teen-Turn has collaborated with more than 30 companies, both multinational and SME, and 18 post-primary schools throughout Ireland, to encourage – using work experience, mentorship, journaling and after-school learning activities – more girls from areas where third-level education is uncommon to take up STEM course work.
According to Teen-Turn founder Joanne Dolan, there are great benefits for the companies and mentors who take part, as well as for the teens.
“By empowering these women to show teenage girls firsthand what it is to work and flourish in a STEM career environment, we are positioning them as role models for the next generation to see and aspire to be,” she said. “This has proved to be a hugely rewarding experience for those taking part.”
Laura Murphy, head of operations at Murex Ireland, and Murex’s sponsor for Teen-Turn, agrees.
“Teen-Turn is hugely beneficial for companies, too,” she said. “In our experience, we get an opportunity to promote our female fintech role models, while they in turn find mentoring the girls extremely rewarding, knowing that their support, advice and enthusiasm can make a huge difference to subject choices at Leaving Certificate level and career choices in the long term.”
“As a technology company operating in an agile collaborative culture, a diverse skillset is key to us. We are passionate about encouraging girls to consider a career in STEM, and the internship is a great opportunity to influence teenage girls at this stage of their education.”
In a short few years, Teen-Turn has already had a significant impact, expanding nationally, with a high percentage of participants reporting increased interest in studying STEM subjects.
According to Dolan, 80pc of the teenage participants stated that they would now consider pursuing STEM studies as part of a career path, with data science and engineering the most cited; 60pc of participants returned to a technology career environment for further work experience; 50pc have taken up technology learning activities, including those related to coding and engineering; and 15pc have participated in the BT Young Scientist competition for the first time.
As for the industry partners, she said, the majority of partner companies have committed to host again in 2018, with 100pc of partner schools committing to identifying and recruiting girls for whom the opportunity is most beneficial. In 2018, Teen-Turn will provide underrepresented teen girls 10,000 hours of work experience and learning programmes.
The 28 June event is specifically designed for Teen-Turn mentors and women in technology, and takes place at Huckletree on Thursday 28 June from 6pm. The evening will feature a panel discussion entitled ‘Mentorship and the power of influence on the next generation of women in technology’.
This promises to be a lively discussion on the future, chaired by O’Dea. Murphy and Tinu, a student at Larkin Community College, will tell us how Teen-Turn has positively impacted students.
To attend, please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org.