Digitas UK in push to attract secondary schoolgirls into Tech

Published March 10, 2023

The agency is running a nationwide workshop with Next Tech Girls.

Digitas UK has partnered with women-led diversity programme Next Tech Girls to co-launch a nationwide workshop that encourages young girls to pursue a career in the tech sector.

More than 900 students, at least 800 of them girls, were expected at the event, which runs across 20 secondary schools today (10 March). Activities include individual exercises, problem-solving tasks and collaborative team projects, designed to encourage participants to consider a career in technology.

The workshop featured a panel of women in the advertising and technology industries, including Digitas' Gemma Daly (product strategy director), Drashti Desai (senior analyst) and Lauren Webster (strategist).

Daly told Campaign that women account for only 26% of the tech workforce in the UK, commenting that “if you’re building products for the general public, you want to make sure that these roles are inclusive for everyone”.

She added: “From a client standpoint, this is a whole group of the population that they don’t get the easy access to when it comes to building their own brand or understanding what their views and attitudes are.

“Our clients are getting a completely unique engagement with us as a digital agency, because we’re having this ability to interact with this age group.”

Also among the panellists were Amber Shand, frontend engineer at computer security service CybSafe and Amina Omar, service designer for the UK government’s digital service.

The workshop is the first of its kind for Next Tech Girls, which was launched in 2016 by tech recruitment agency Empiric. Established to address gender gaps in the UK’s technology sector, the programme has partnered with various companies and educational institutions to run work experience placements and tech-centred events.

Among the programme’s additional major partners are Google, Atos, NBC Universal and Sky.

In total, the organisation has worked with 180 UK-based secondary schools and pointed 845 girls towards a career in tech through its work placements.

Digitas' partnership with Next Tech Girls has already resulted in the agency welcoming five female students in January to gain hands-on work experience (pictured below, with Daly fourth from left and Next Tech Girls director Emily Hall-Strutt third from left). 

The agency hopes that the partnership will highlight its focus on diversity and inclusion and readiness for future developments, which it says will provide a direct benefit to its client base.

Hall-Strutt told Campaign: “Digitas, specifically, has a very good representation of women – which, within the tech industry, we know is quite rare. It really helps us with that messaging of smashing the stereotype and showing that women can do this, women can lead in this space.”

She added: “Working with agencies like Digitas can unlock new partnerships and new companies for us to work with, which helps us reach and inspire more girls."