Wexford company, Datapac, is involved in a collaborative project with Trinity Access Progammes (TAP) to address a gender imbalance in the technology sector and encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in IT through the CodePlus initiative.
Datapac’s female employees are giving their time to instil a love for the field in girls from a young age, in an effort to narrow an ever-prevalent gender gap in IT.
They will also provide real-life examples of women working in the tech sector. CodePlus works with TAP which, for 30 years, has nurtured talent and potential from under-represented groups.
To date, over 10,000 girls have taken part in CodePlus workshops to develop their coding and technology design skills. They also participated in CodePlus talks to gain insights from some of the finest minds in the sector.
A spokesperson for Datapac said that while great improvements in access to higher education have been made nationwide, participation in STEM subjects in areas of disadvantage remains a concern, particularly among female students, and CodePlus is aims to address that.
“Datapac employees are contributing to this goal by sharing their lived experiences and career paths through interactive talks and lively student-led, questions and answers sessions,” said the spokesperson.
“This increases the visibility of female role models for these girls and young women,” she added.
She commented that Datapac is also aiming to highlight that careers in technology are not limited to ‘hard’ computer sciences such as coding, but can include broader areas such as medicine, fashion, education, and entertainment.
"Technology has an increasing influence on the way we live our lives and an understanding of it provides numerous career opportunities and social mobility for women worldwide,” said the spokesperson.
Datapac recently launched its Community Contribution Initiative which provides employees with an additional three days of paid leave per year to engage in volunteering activities with organisations of their choice. The company will give over 500 days back to the community as part of the programme.
Luciana Fragoso, Software Developer with Datapac said the company is delighted to be involved with the initiative which she commented “echoes our own drive to promote equality and inclusiveness in the tech sector”.
“Providing ready access to role models is important when encouraging female students to consider further study and careers in technology,” said Luciana.
“In order to address the gender imbalance, it’s crucial to engage with girls from a young age and increase the level of practical IT skills through a more gender-inclusive approach,” she added.
Luciana also said the company is delighted to be collaborating with Trinity Access Programmes to help open up IT careers to a broader range of students with varying skillsets.
“The initiative equips young girls with the knowledge and support to make informed decisions about their futures,” she said. Niamh Ellis, from Trinity Access Programmes, outlined the benefits of having Datapac involved as a partner.
"Many of our students don’t have obvious female ‘techy’ role models in their lives,” she said.
"Helping them to understand what it’s like to study computer science and to see the wide range of career opportunities in the IT industry is a key aim of the CodePlus programme,” she added. “Hearing about the career path and day-to-day experience of women in IT helps make the whole thing real, and a bit more achievable, for the students.”