A HUNDRED women can retrain in the technology sector thanks to a new training programme.

Tech Up is led by Durham University in partnership with three universities and 16 companies in the technology industry.

Currently, women make up only 17 per cent of the technology sector workforce, significantly lower than most other UK sectors.

Funded by the Office for Students, through the Institute of Coding, the Tech Up programme aims to address this shortage by recruiting women who want to start a career in the tech sector, particularly from Black, Asian and other minority or under-represented communities.

The six-month programme is open to women with degrees in any subject and was developed with industry partners and York, Edge Hill and Nottingham universities.

Participants will learn about data science, machine learning, project management and public speaking amongst other skills.

Most of the training is completed online and there will be four residential weekends for participants to attend industry-led talks and network with tech industry experts and course peers.

Durham University’s Professor Sue Black, a pioneer of women in technology and founder of #techmums and BCSWomen: the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and Computer Scientist, Professor Alexandra Cristea, are collaborating with industry on the programme.

The Northern Echo:

Sue’s own career had an unconventional start after leaving school at 16 and becoming a single mum of three by the age of 25.

She returned to education at 26 and graduated with a degree in computing, followed by a PhD leading to her academic career.

Sue’s notable achievements also include the campaign to save Bletchley Park, the site of World War Two codebreakers, from demolition.

Professor Black, Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University, said: “Education and technology have changed my life. Thirty years ago, I was living in poverty as a single parent with three small children. Going back into education at the age of 26, ten years after I left school, completely changed all of our lives.

“Technology is a massive field that offers job opportunities in so many areas. We want to show that it’s a great career for women and kick start a revolution creating awesome female tech role models. In the 1960s, 50 percent of the technology workforce were women and we would love to get back towards this level.“TechUp has been developed between four universities and 16 industry partners, with the opportunity for 100 women to change their lives by taking part in this exciting programme.”

Industry mentors will be paired up with participants to offer support.

Professor Black added: “If you have a degree, are passionate about technology and are looking for a change in career or want to try something new, I would really encourage you to apply for the programme.

“This is a brilliant opportunity to learn new skills and start a new career in a fast-paced and dynamic sector.”

  • Applications are open until May 10 and successful applicants will be notified by the end of May. The application process will involve a short form and a video explaining why you want to be part of the programme.
  • For details email ioc.techup@durham.ac.uk, call 0191-3342554 or visit dur.ac.uk/arc/ioc/