The Ada Lovelace Initiative, together with Science Foundation Ireland’s Smart Futures Programme, has today launched the #TechTeamTour video campaign in order to encourage Irish secondary school students to consider a career in technology. The aim of the #TechTeamTour is to challenge misconceptions about careers in technology, helping both teenagers and parents to become aware about the vast amount of career paths in STEM and resources available to them.
Three leading Irish technology companies appear in the video campaign, Udemy.com, which is a marketplace for global online learning, ALTIFY which works with B2B (business to business) sales organisations and home-grown Irish app creation company, Tapadoo, which is based in Dublin City Centre and were the creators of the popular ‘My Dublin Bus’ app.
The videos feature interviews with seven technology professionals working in Ireland and also feature a special appearance from Claire Hough, Vice President of Engineering at Udemy, (former Vice President of Engineering at Napster) who was visiting Dublin from the Udemy HQ in San Francisco.
The #TechTeamTour video campaign provides an opportunity for both students and parents to ‘meet’ a diverse group of technology professionals in order to learn about the variety of roles in the Irish technology sector.
In a survey of 2000 secondary school students, conducted by Science Foundation Ireland’s Smart Futures Programme, 62% of students said ‘fitting in’ was the main reason they chose their college course, with 56% noting this was more important than career prospects, and 28% feeling it was more important than entry requirements.
The reluctance to consider STEM careers is further amplified among female students; only 25% of roles in the technology industry are held by women. Research shows the lack of access to female technologists is a contributing factor to the low numbers of female students choosing to pursue STEM related courses in higher education. In order to address this imbalance, the #TechTeamTour showcases female technology professionals.
Cathal Grogan, Managing Director of Verify Recruitment said: “The Ada Lovelace Initiative and Smart Futures STEM volunteers reach a wide audience of both male and female secondary school pupils with career talks. It is important for Irish students to be aware of the resources available to them to explore career options in STEM to suit a variety of interests and personalities.”
Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “From a national perspective, it is important that organisations with an interest in the future STEM-graduate pipeline work together to provide students with relevant resources, and enable them to make informed decisions about their study and career choices.
The collaboration between Smart Futures and the Ada Lovelace initiative is a great example of how a joint effort to strengthen the positive message about STEM career opportunities in Ireland can greatly leverage existing programmes and give all secondary school students access to role models.STEM graduates are in high demand and can enjoy strong earning potential and excellent progression opportunities in Ireland and across the globe. Students should consider all routes, such as apprenticeships and Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLC), as well as CAO courses, to kick start their career.”
Louise Bernstein, Senior Product Manager at ALTIFY and #TechTeamTour participant said: I don’t know why girls shy away from being involved in tech because tech is everywhere. You are either using tech or you’re building tech, Ireland is such a hive of technology activity right now that there are so many opportunities, and they are exciting! You can get involved and help shape technology that you might start using yourself, or your family will start using, or your friends, so the time to really get involved is now.