A Durham University-led programme which has helped 100 women launch a career in technology has won a national award

Led by Durham with York, Edge Hill and Nottingham universities, TechUPWomen was launched in 2019 with the aim of addressing the shortage of women in technology, particularly from Black, Asian and other minority or under-served communities.

Professor Sue Black, who is a pioneer of women in technology and founder of #techmums, and Computer Scientist Professor Alexandra Cristea worked with industry on the programme.

In a virtual ceremony, Professor Black picked up the award on behalf of the programme team in the employment and skills category, which recognises initiatives that change ways into employment and increase skills.

The Northern Echo:

By meeting the varied needs of a diverse cohort, the TechUPWomen programme achieved a retention rate of 96 per cent.

To date, 61 women have or are in the process of graduating, with another 17 still studying on the programme under a flexible extension.

As well as learning about subjects such as data science, machine learning, project management, and life skills, TechUPWomen brought together the 100 course participants over four residential weekends, one held at each of the four universities.

One course participant, Benedicta Banga launched her own app, Blaqbase, while studying on the programme.

Course graduate Shakirah Mustapha-Tahir is now working for HR in One as Content Manager and has been elected Board Trustee of Being Woman UK after completing the programme in January 2020.

The Northern Echo:

Fellow graduate Winona Sharpe started a new position of Junior Release Associate with Double Eleven Ltd, a games developer based in Teesside.

Professor Black, Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist in the Department of Computer Science, Durham University, said: “I am utterly delighted and so proud of our fabulous team for winning this award and massive credit is also due to the amazing women who took part in the programme.

“Seeing how our TechUPWomen first 100 grew in confidence throughout the six months was truly inspiring. For 20 years I’ve heard people asking how we can get more women working in tech sectors. We’ve shown that we can do that successfully within six months. We have started a women in tech revolution with TechUPWomen and can’t wait to see what the future brings.”