The Ada Lovelace Initiative by Verify Recruitment has reached approximately 3000 students in 14 counties since the school visits officially began in on the 5th of October 2015. Secondary schools in 14 counties in Ireland are now registered to take part in the free technology talks with further plans for expansion for the 2016/17 school year.
The Ada Lovelace Initiative, (A.L.I.), was named in honour of Ada Lovelace who is widely regarded as the first computer programmer for her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine in the 1800’s. The initiative aims to address one of the main contributing factors to the low numbers of women entering STEM careers; a lack of visibility or access to female role models in this field.
A.L.I. connects female professionals working in technology with Transition Year secondary school students to present to students an insight into working in technology by telling their story. Women from the technology sector tell students about their educational background, their role type & how they chose their career path.
The initiative has schools registered for technology talks in Cavan, Louth, Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Down, Wexford and Donegal. Initially launched in Dublin, A.L.I. also recently expanded into Northern Ireland with a visit taking place in Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry, County Down.
Free technology talks will be available for students in Northern Ireland in the 2016/17 school year, with an initial focus on Newry and Belfast for the autumn.
Cathal Grogan, Managing Director of Verify Recruitment said: “We are delighted to announce that the success of our first year of Ada Lovelace Initiative has exceeded our expectations, our ultimate goal was to reach 2000 secondary school students in our first year, but by June 2016, we had reached approximately 3000 students. The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of role models & we would like to thank all of the voluntary role models and teachers who have been working this year to make these talks possible for the students. The response to The Ada Lovelace Initiative over the past year has been overwhelmingly positive. We were even lucky enough to have Claire Hough, the Vice President of Engineering at Udemy.com make a school visit to Mount Carmel Secondary School in Dublin’s inner city all the way from San Francisco.”
There are over 100 role models from 75 technology companies in Ireland registered as volunteers for The Ada Lovelace Initiative. Volunteers have registered from companies such as TripAdvisor, Udemy, Citi and Concern Worldwide to encourage young women to choose a career in technology.
David Coleman, Transition Year Coordinator of Mount Carmel Secondary School said: “It is so important for students to hear about technology career options as presently this is area where there are loads of interesting well paid jobs. Employees with certain ‘in-demand’ skills can pick and choose jobs and it’s important to let students know they are there! In written form, there is plenty of information available but getting people who are working in the technology area to come in and talk to students isn’t as easy to do. We were very lucky in having The Ada Lovelace Initiative who arranged for a female software engineer to come in and talk to the students about her job.”
The organisers of The Ada Lovelace Initiative encourage technology professionals and schools from all over Ireland get involved for one school visit this year. Visits are provided free of charge.
Róisín Healy of Verify Recruitment said: “The success of The Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of role models across Ireland. The only commitment for volunteers is to visit one school each for one hour. With the help of female technology professionals across Ireland, we hope to promote technology careers to over 5000 Transition Year students in schools across the country in the 2016/17 school year.”
More information about the initative can be found on this link.