Girls from secondary schools in Blackpool are set to benefit from a new virtual skills programme

The social enterprise group, InnovateHer, is teaming up with ITS Technology Group to bring the digital skills programme scheme to young people across the resort. 

Nationally, only 19% of technical roles are female, while 14% of pupils in Blackpool opt to take computer science at GCSE level. 

InnovateHer is aiming to improve these statistics with the financial backing of ITS. Blackpool Council is also supporting the initiative by providing an introduction into the education network within the resort.  

The collective aim is inspire the next generation to consider careers in technology and to showcase career paths within the local area into tech roles. 

The partnership will enable InnovateHer to work with local schools to provide their industry led ‘Tech For Good’ programme online, which was launched in April. With the backing of ITS, the programme can be offered for free to the schools. 

The Blackpool Education Improvement Board will be supporting the partnership by facilitating access to local schools and identifying pupils who would benefit from taking part in the course. 

More than 60 pupils will be invited to take part in the programme. Pupils who are in receipt of free school meals as well as applicants from minority ethnic groups will be prioritised. 

The content features inspirational role models working in tech and is designed to inspire, inform and connect pupils to each other online. 

Jo Morfee, Co-Founder of InnovateHer, said:

“We are excited to launch this new partnership with ITS in Blackpool, which will see us working together to raise awareness about tech careers within the area, working closely with local schools. 

“I’m particularly passionate about working in Blackpool because I was born there, so I’m delighted to be working with young people in the area to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities. We’re looking forward to making a big impact together!” 

Daren Baythope, CEO of ITS Technology Group, said:

“We are delighted to be working with InnovateHer and helping to support and build the talent pipeline of women in technology, flying the flag for the sector, and helping to create future career opportunities. 

“The role of technology and digital is increasing exponentially. As a business we are committed to expanding access to digital capability and also supporting the future leaders in the tech and digital sector. Working with InnovateHer, I believe we can make a real impact.” 

Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration, said:

“We’re delighted to get involved with this initiative. Girls will benefit from being mentored by industry leading employers who will help them develop new digital skills. 

“We have many bright and wonderful pupils in Blackpool so it’s essential that we continue to strive to give our children these opportunities. The partnership will help to show the huge range of opportunities available to them in the tech industry. 

“It’s important that we continue to help all our pupils to dream big and work with them to help them reach their goals. Providing them with the best opportunities to be successful is the key to not only their futures but that of the town.” 

ITS will join the existing InnovateHer member community as a ‘gold’ member alongside other partners such as The Coop, SONY Playstation and Liverpool Football Club, all of whom are committed to support advancing Diversity, Equality and Inclusion agendas within their workplaces. 

They will be the first company to join with a base in Blackpool, which means that InnovateHer can begin to work in the area. A percentage of the membership fee also goes to Chayn, a charity partner supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse. 

ITS designs, builds and operates gigabit capable full fibre networks and alongside other companies, is delivering this in the Blackpool area with investment in its Faster Britain network. 

The tech firm and Blackpool Council are part of a co-operative group from the private and public sectors, working together to roll out Fibre Blackpool, a local full fibre network that will give an improved broadband internet connection to residents and businesses on the Fylde Coast. 

The network, which spans from Fleetwood to the Airport Enterprise Zone, currently passes more than half of all businesses in the town, and will be expanding further in the New Year. 

To find out more about InnovateHer, or to enquire about partnerships, visit their website.