Working with young women to close gender gap in technology

There is an obvious and distinct lack of women in the technology industry — this is not news for anyone but it also does not appear to be changing.

Specifically in my sphere of web development from designers, developers and coders to analysts, strategists and managers — women are underrepresented at all levels which maintains a gender gap that affects us all. Women’s equality in technology is a critical issue that many prominent people are trying to tackle and we at the Drupal Apprenticeship scheme are also trying to deliver an impact.

To this end we would really like to recruit more women as mentors and trainers to the scheme as well as appealing more directly to young women who might take up web development as a career.

It is fundamentally important that we facilitate and encourage young women to take up careers such as web development at the earliest stages of their professional lives to address the industry’s gender gap. Drupal is a content management framework system used by well over a million websites, including The Economist, The Greater London Authority, The White House and Royal Mail. However, despite the high profile of this popular framework, it is not taught on any school curriculum and there is a real lack of female junior developers in the industry.

Having been implemented successfully in London over the past two years, the Drupal Apprenticeship Scheme is now running again in London and will launch in Manchester this November. The Scheme is developed and run by industry experts and experienced training providers. It consists of a two week ‘bootcamp’ followed by a year long paid placement of hands-on learning in the workplace, accompanied by two additional training days every month from seasoned professionals and industry experts. The Scheme trains young people in areas identified as critical by industry leaders, and as such, ensures that graduates are work-ready and extremely employable.

About the Scheme

The Scheme, which is now actively recruiting applicants from Manchester and London, is open to young people age 16–23. Applicants do not require a degree, or any academic qualifications. The selection team are looking for an aptitude and enthusiasm for web development, rather than grades. In recognition of the work that needs to be done to close the gender gap in technology, women are especially encouraged to apply. By the end of the two week bootcamp phase of the training, applicants will have built two fully functioning, database driven websites from scratch and be placed for a year in industry to qualify with a Level 4 Tech Industry Gold Apprenticeship — equivalent to a foundation degree.

In many ways this is much better than a university degree, academic institutions cannot ever really hope to keep up with the pace at which our industry develops and changes — this is vocational training delivered by the very people you would hope to work with and for — a brilliant opportunity for anyone wanting to get into web development.

The scheme has been nominated for Apprenticeship Programme of the Year at the Learning and Performance Institute’s annual awards 2016.

There are four work placements available in Manchester, six in London and two in Canterbury — all with renowned digital agencies working with well known brands and international clients.

“If I hadn’t done the apprenticeship I would probably still be on a minimum wage job at Sports Direct”, states Jack Holding — one of the first students to undertake the apprenticeship. “Now I’ve got a clear career path in web development.”

Deadline for applications is 20 October in London and 10 November in Manchester.

What can I do to help?

Here is a site you can share with your networks encouraging more young women to apply for the scheme.

…and here is where you can sign up as a mentor.

If you would like more info please sign up using the links above or get in touch with me here or on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on Medium