Women in Business, Northern Ireland’s largest and fastest growing business network for women in the workplace, has launched an innovative female returners programme in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College.
Funded by the Department for the Economy, Press Refresh has been in development for over a year and was created with the aim of encouraging women to “Press Refresh” on their careers and equip them with new skills needed to return to work and build their career within the expanding IT sector.
Launching with Belfast Met, this highly anticipated programme aims to recruit 20 women with no previous IT experience to undertake relevant training and up-skilling in Data Analytics that will support them gain employment within the tech sector.
The IT sector in Northern Ireland is proving to be a key growth area with over 1,200 companies and many key global companies based here. Despite this, females are still largely under-represented within the sector with just 17% of tech jobs currently held by women, even though women in Northern Ireland make up half of the working age population and account for 53% of all graduates and 60% of postgraduates.
Louise Warde Hunter, Principal & Chief Executive at Belfast Met said, “Economic development and social inclusion are at the heart of Belfast Met’s mission. We have a long history of delivering vocational skills and employment solutions across the City Region to meet Industry needs. As the DfE nominated Digital ICT Hub for the FE Sector and having received the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize earlier this year for creating a digital talent pipeline, the College has an unrivalled capacity to develop and deliver digital solutions. We look forward to working with Women in Business and in supporting women further to enter the IT sector.”
Minster for the Economy, Diane Dodds commented, “Many people and businesses have been deeply affected by the economic impact of Covid-19. It is vital, in the short term, that we provide opportunities for individuals which will support them in finding new employment, or boost the potential of their businesses when they return to work. It is an exciting time for the tech industry within Northern Ireland, so it is amazing to see the hard work Women in Business and Belfast Met have put into creating this relevant and skills-based programme. The Press Refresh will focus on upskilling up to 20 women returners who want to gain new skills. This is a very encouraging prospect for these women and the IT sector in Northern Ireland in general.”
Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business is confident about the impact this programme can make: “Women in Business is proud to be working closely with our friends at Belfast Met to ensure that women across Northern Ireland who are aspiring to be involved in the booming tech industry are fully equipped to do so. We will continue to work to break down the barriers to gender diversity in the workplace, promote the benefits of flexible and part-time working to employers and encourage returning women to take the leap and pave out a successful career within the tech industry.
“Encouraging women to get back to work and to embark on a new career within the world of tech is the perfect opportunity to showcase the many benefits a diverse workforce can have on business. It is really encouraging to have the support from the Economy Minister on the launch Press Refresh and we are all very excited to get the ball rolling.”
The closing date for applications for this programme is 12 noon on 2nd November 2020.
Source: Belfast Met College