Posted on May 5, 2017 by staff

Women could plug Liverpool’s widening skills gap


Liverpool Girl Geeks co-founder Chelsea Slater wants to encourage more women to join the city’s tech community at our breakfast event this month.

The organisation aims to inspire women of all ages into tech through events, courses and workshops.

“Liverpool’s digital community is incredible: there’s so much going on, whether it’s one of our women in tech events or a creative kitchen,” she told BusinessCloud.

“We’re an ever growing family and we are here to stay!

“I especially want to encourage women to enter the sector – there are lots of opportunities for us out there.

“I also want to celebrate women doing fantastic things in tech.”

Liverpool Girl Geeks runs a six-week bootcamp for 11- to 14-year-olds at the Studio School in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, which is sponsored by videogame behemoth Sony PlayStation.

Slater recognises that the skills gap is beginning to bite, especially in the North.

“We need funding to give people that live in the North the skills and training to pursue careers in the industry,” she continued.

“Companies are struggling to fill roles, especially developer ones. We need to actively recruit more people and show people the tech industry is the place to be.”

BELOW: Slater at OMG! Girls in Tech event last year

Closing the gender gap in technology is the most obvious way of easing that shortage, and could be worth £600 billion to the UK economy.

The success of Liverpool’s thriving creative and digital sector is now being undermined by the widening skills gap.

Rather than pay expensive recruitment fees, a group of companies in the city have joined forces to tackle it head-on through the 10-week Catalyst programme.

Aimed at 18-30-year-olds hoping to get their foot in the door of the digital industry and those already in work seeking to brush up on their skills, around 40 companies have signed up to the programme with most holding workshops, talks and providing studio tours.

The initiative is the brainchild of entrepreneur Robyn Dooley, who founded the Innovators Hub after leaving her college course in fashion at the age of 17.

Developer Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, provided the Tempest Building free of charge to stage the weekly training sessions.

The initial Catalyst programme has been so successful it now looks certain to be repeated and could be rolled out across other cities facing a similar skills gap problem.

At ‘Tackling Liverpool’s digital skills gap’, BusinessCloud will hear from some of the driving forces behind the Catalyst programme and see if the model could be used elsewhere.