Dell EMC and VMware were today announced as the co-anchor sponsors of I Wish 2017, an initiative developed to encourage more young women to choose subjects during their transition year to give them the option of a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). More than 4,000 female students will participate in I Wish 2017 through talks, demonstrations and interactive hubs meeting with inspiring women working in a variety of STEM roles. The series of events, which take place in Cork on the 9th and 10th February and in Dublin on the 13th and 14th February.

Newly appointed General Manager at Dell EMC Ireland, Aisling Keegan, said: “Dell EMC is committed to highlighting and supporting gender diversity in the workplace – specifically in the technology sector. While we have a number of initiatives up and running which are having an impact it is clear that there is more to be done in order to address this problem. There simply aren’t enough women considering technology as a career path and it is an incredibly valuable and untapped opportunity for the industry to address our growing skills gap. This is a challenge for government, education and industry, and we have the potential to make a real difference if we all work together.

“We believe that I Wish has taken a fresh approach to addressing this challenge. Facilitating industry leaders, together with local government and higher education institutes and colleges, to have direct engagement with young women who are just about to make some critical choices about subjects and careers. This will have a real and meaningful impact on the decisions they make. We are delighted to sponsor these events and are especially pleased to see events also taking place in Dublin this year for the first time.”

The demand for I Wish among schools has been higher than ever this year, with only a handful of tickets remaining for Dublin and a waiting list in operation for tickets to the Cork event.

Speakers from Dell EMC including Marie Moynihan, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, and Aisling Keegan, Ireland General Manager, will address I Wish, imparting lessons gained from their own experience in the technology sector. Speakers from VMware include Karen Egan, Vice President of NSX, Global Support Services and Eabha O’Leary, Inside Sales associate. The wider Dell EMC and VMware teams will also be on hand at the events as volunteers, sharing information directly with attendees about their own roles which range include sales, IT and manufacturing to finance and technical support.

Gillian Keating, co-founder of I Wish, and partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn, said: “The partnership with Dell EMC and VMware is very exciting for I Wish in 2017. The fact that significant industry partners, like Dell EMC and VMware, in STEM sectors, together with SFI, local government and higher education institutes, are supporting and advocating I Wish as a model to impact real change, and encourage more young girls to choose STEM subjects and careers, demonstrates the value that the sector places in I Wish. We are delighted that from very early on Dell EMC and VMware saw the value and impact of I Wish, and we look forward to continuing a rewarding partnership with them. In 2017 Dell EMC is also giving Transition Year internships to the winning team of the ‘Build IT by Girls’ competition at the I Wish Entrepreneur Zone hosted by the Local Enterprise Offices and supported by Enterprise Ireland. This is a fantastic opportunity for the winning team.”

I Wish is just one of many initiatives that Dell EMC and VMware support to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the technology sector. Dell EMC has a long track record of encouraging gender diversity in industry and has been one of the leaders globally at pioneering MARC (Men Advocating Real Change), a learning community for men committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace. Dell EMC has programmes that run internally to encourage and support female employees, deliver the IT is Not Just for Geeks initiative in primary schools, supports Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT).

VMware also works to promote diversity in the workplace. As part of its VMinclusion initiative, VMware aims to harness the power of human difference to drive great business outcomes for employees, customers and shareholders. For the past number of years VMware has run CoderDojo classes for Scoil Mhuire primary school in Ballincollig and introduction to technology classes for Age Action. VMware has also recently launched its Back to IT programme which aims to train and re-skill people who have been out of the IT industry for three or more years.

John Dolan, Senior Vice President of Global Support Services at VMware, commented: “I Wish is a really important initiative for us and we are delighted to be taking part again this year. Creating an environment of equality and mutual respect is something that has really made a difference to our work environment and we’re happy our employees and customers recognise us for our efforts here.”

I Wish 2017, supported by Dell EMC and VMware, is an award-winning partnership between Science Foundation Ireland – Smart Futures, Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, [email protected], Cork County Council, Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, UCC, CIT, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, ARUP and many more.

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