Window opens on world of tech for St Francis of Assisi girls

'Event inspired them to consider IT as subject and career choice'

Programming, cryptography and innovation were all on the agenda for Year 8 pupils from the Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) as they took part in Barclays’ IT Girls Allowed Programme.

The girls visited the Barclays Technology Campus in Knutsford, Cheshire for a full day of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities as part of this programme, created to address the shortage of women aspiring to careers in technology.

As well as receiving inspiring examples of women in technology, such as 19th-century mathematician Ada
Lovelace and the female operators at Bletchley Park during World War Two, the pupils heard insights from volunteers and took part in a range of activities, such as a ‘Designing the Future’ session where they devised ideas including a holographic teacher conceived to help with homework.

They later learned about cryptography by decoding jokes using different cyphers, and had a concluding session on programming robots. Starting off with a square motion, the girls had to work out how to get the robot to make more complicated shapes.

St Francis of Assisi head teacher, Tracey Greenough, said: ‘The event gave the girls a glimpse into the many IT careers available and without a doubt it has inspired many of them to consider IT not just as a subject choice, but as a career choice too.’

Claire Findlay, director of Global Apprenticeship Programmes, added: ‘We hope programmes like this will
break down some of the barriers and will help encourage even more girls to consider a career in tech.’