Tech skills are more important to the modern workforce than ever before, and yet only 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women, according to UCAS data provided by HESA.
Not only that but in a study conducted by PwC, 78% percent of students said they couldn’t name a famous woman working in the tech industry (PwC 2017).
It’s clear that women are still underrepresented in tech, but that’s changing, and the University of Leeds is proud to be part of that change. For International Women’s Day, we’re participating in this year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, by challenging gender bias in tech and widening participation to STEM subjects. There’s no better time to celebrate the women who are enhancing their tech skills with Digital Skills for the Workplace.
Digital Skills for the Workplace is a course collection created by the University in partnership with FutureLearn and the Institute of Coding. Core objectives behind the creation of these courses include widening participation of women in subjects that are traditionally male-dominated, such as coding, and improving digital skills in those returning to work after a break (particularly women and BAME learners).
In order to achieve these goals, the University collaborated with outreach partners and industry experts such as UKBlackTech and #techmums. Input from these groups was crucial to ensure that meeting learners’ needs stayed at the heart of course development and that each course would provide relevant skills for the workplace.
We’re delighted to report that 48% of learners from the Digital Skills for the Workplace collection identify as female. This is incredible when compared to traditional skills education (e.g. only 16% of computer science graduates were women (WISE 2019)).
The collection has been a great success on FutureLearn, with women learners leaving positive reviews and each course receiving 4.6 or above out of a 5-star rating.
I personally believe this course has been really helpful to understand what to consider, if you want to create great content, especially when you want to create a successful social media campaign, to launch or promote your own business. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
– Miriam Navarette, How to Create Great Online Content
Today, on International Women’s Day, we’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the women learning with Digital Skills for the Workplace. It’s an honour to support you in your education, and we hope that the knowledge you gain will empower you to succeed in whichever industry you choose.