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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity project breaks down barriers for women entering the tech industry

This news post is 8 months old

A dedicated training programme is designed to empower girls to enter, and progress in, digital technology careers

Dundee-based charity Showcase the Street is launching a dedicated Girls in Gaming programme to help overcome the persistent challenges girls face entering the industry

The tech sector is expanding almost three times faster than the rest of the UK economy and it is worth nearly £184 billion.

However, gender diversity remains a key challenge for the sector as only 19% of the tech workforce are female, compared to 49% for all other jobs.

Video games play an important part in Scotland’s creative industries, employing nearly 90,000 people and adding £4.6bn to the Scottish economy each year.

For more than 20 years, Dundee has been at the forefront of video game innovation, home to some of the best-selling games of all time including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto.

Now, with a proposed esports arena, Dundee will be leading the way in the gaming and esports industry. Jobs in the gaming industry can offer multiple career opportunities using a wide range of creative, strategic and communication skills including designing, developing, and selling, yet women continue to face a number of barriers and challenges entering and progressing within the digital technology sector.

However, Showcase the Street has secured funding to help tackle these issues head on. 

Next month, the charity will launch a dedicated training programme designed to empower girls to enter, and progress in, digital technology careers. Girls in Gaming is aimed at girls aged 16-20 and will provide the opportunity to gain confidence with digital skills, and build knowledge in gaming, esports and coding to enhance career and further education opportunities.

The project has been supported by funding from Foundation Scotland from two funding sources: Social Investment and its new Tackling Inequalities fund.

The Foundation Scotland Social Investment programme provides a blend of grant and loan funding to enable social enterprises, community organisations and charities to grow and deliver positive social impact. Across the last seven years, Showcase the Street has received over £185,000 through this programme, which has helped develop multiple projects within the charity.

Earlier this year, the project received a further £90,000 from Foundation Scotland’s Tackling Inequalities fund, which provides organisations with the financial support to develop, test, or implement activity that contributes to tackling and reducing inequalities either in their local areas or through their project more widely.

The Foundation Scotland relationship with Showcase the Street began back in 2015, with Social Investment funding that enabled the charity to transform a large disused warehouse in the Stobswell area of the city into the hugely popular Roller Hockey Rink that it is today. 

Three years later, further investment supported the development of Showcase’s technology hub, which helps hundreds of local people build their problem-solving skills and confidence, ultimately boosting their education and employment prospects. The new Girls in Gaming programme has been made possible thanks to the first-class facilities available within this hub, and the programme will include hands-on experience with virtual reality and robotics.

Cheryl Jenkins, operations manager at Showcase the Street, said: “We are really excited about the launch of our Girls in Gaming programme. We all know that the tech industry is booming right now, especially here in Dundee, but the number of females entering the sector remains low. This course is designed to proactively switch things up.  The programme will help to encourage girls to consider careers in the industry, give them the confidence to pursue the growing number of opportunities available, and ultimately help them to build a positive career path in the sector.”

Ali Kennedy, investment executive at Foundation Scotland, added:“We are so proud of our continued relationship with Showcase the Street. It’s an incredible organisation, delivering so many life-enhancing activities for local people.

“We know there are other groups that urgently need support to get started or grow, and this is even more challenging in the current climate. We are encouraging all interested groups to visit our website or contact the Foundation Scotland team directly to discuss eligibility for our social investment programme.”