‘Hello World’, an event to promote careers for girls in the Information Technology Sector, hosted at Teesside University, was a great inspiration to a group of twelve Stokesley School students.

The students, from Years 8, 9 and 10, attended the annual computing conference, which was originally launched in 2009 as ‘Girls & Gadgets’. To mark its 10th year, the project has been rebranded under the new name ‘Hello World!’

Girls from schools across the region were invited to attend this inspiring, motivating and fun-filled day, aimed at destroying the myth that computers are for boys. Internationally, there is a shortage of women in all computing careers and statistics show that in the UK only 1 in 5 students who opt to study IT are girls.

To kick the day off, a panel of ‘Inspiring Women in IT’ talked about their own career journey and answered questions from students about their training, job roles and experiences.  Students asked about the various types of jobs which are now available and whether there were any difficulties identified by being a girl and perusing a career in this sector.

Janine Harrison-Henry, Careers Leader at Stokesley School, commented: “It was great for the girls to hear, first-hand, that the idea that ‘computers are for boys’ is something which is just that – only an idea, there is no evidence to show that girls are not capable or welcomed into any careers in Information Technology and so there is no reason why they cannot or should not pursue their ambitions and aim high!”

The students were allocated workshops in the morning and afternoon, to give them an insight into some of the types of careers in this industry which they may not have considered. In the morning they tried their hand at drawing comic/storyboards and in the afternoon they were enthralled by Stop Motion Animation techniques.

Amy Chamberlain, Year 9 student, said: “I really like ICT in school and I thought it would be a good chance to see what it would  be like as a career choice. I wasn’t sure what to expect on the day, it was different to what I had expected – that we would spend the day in a classroom. It was great fun and I learned a lot, the workshops were brilliant and we got to do loads. There are so many roles connected to ICT than I ever thought.”

Students learned that this is a very fast-moving industry and as such they need to always keep their options open and be flexible, the job that they might be doing in 5-10 years’ time, is most likely not in existence today.