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InnovateHer teams with Sony to launch technology bootcamp for girls across the UK


InnovateHer has teamed up with Sony to bring its eight week technology programme for teenage girls to more locations across the country.

The Digital Bootcamp programme aims to give girls aged between 12-16 valuable tech and interpersonal skills, whilst encouraging them to consider STEM subjects and careers in tech.

Unfortunately, current statistics show that girls make up only 20% of computer science entries at GCSE, and just 10% at A-level, with nine times more boys than girls gaining an A level in Computer Science this year. InnovateHer, whose mission is “to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls”, has promised to tackle these figures by working with schools to reach over 1,000 girls by 2020.

The after school programme will teach girls technical skills, build confidence, and highlight local opportunities within the tech and digital industries. The collaboration with PlayStation has allowed InnovateHer to extend the programme to new locations, including Guildford and London.

The bootcamp is set to launch in selected schools in January 2020, and graduates of the programme will have the opportunity to showcase the work they have produced at next year's Develop conference in Brighton.

Chelsea Slater, Co-founder of InnovateHer has spoken ahead of the launch, saying:

“We’re proud to be working with PlayStation again on our tech programme for girls. The issues we see around the gender pay gap and low numbers of women in the tech community are the culmination of the seeds that get sown early in young women’s academic careers. Our mission is to get girls ready for the tech industry, and to get the industry ready for girls, and a huge part of this is challenging the misconception that girls “can’t do” STEM subjects like Computer Science, equally that the STEM industry doesn’t cater for women. That’s why it’s important for us that our programme reaches girls not just locally, but nationally, too, and that it aims to show young women just what opportunities are open to them. Thanks to PlayStation’s support and recognition, we are able to do just that.”

If your school is based in London, Liverpool or Guildford and wishes to take part in the InnovateHer programme, then an expression of interest form can be found here:

Jessica Leigh Jones

Jessica Leigh Jones | SONY

Jessica Leigh Jones

Jessica started her career aged 5 as an Apprentice Electrician working weekends with her father. Aged 16 she attended college to study A-levels in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, but her complete dismay with the ‘learning to pass the exam’ style of process led her to complete a range of vocational electrical qualifications in parallel at night school. She qualified as an Electrician aged 19.

During this period Jessica also worked as a Sales Advisor for Maplin Electronics. She bagged a side project to develop a portable electronic uterine contraction monitor for a Cardiff-based medical manufacturer. Her solution reduced manufacturing costs by 99% but she continued to develop it using optical fibre technology leading to wider industrial sensing applications. She secured a patent with support from a London Livery Guild and approached the CEO of Maplin to fund an improved technology. Maplin agreed and Jessica was offered a position in HQ as R&D Advisor to the CEO. She worked with the Board of Directors to revitalise Maplin’s educational strategy, and was a founding member of the Maplin Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary for developing young inventors. She was also awarded the Intel IET Inspirational Entrepreneur Award for her efforts to commercialise her technology.

Aged 17 Jessica became the first female UK Young Engineer and began an Astrophysics BSc at Cardiff University in the same year. Two years later she was head-hunted by Cardiff University to become a Research Associate in Lightning Strike Protection for aircraft. After successfully building an international network of collaborators and customers, Jessica left Cardiff University to take up an engineering role with Sony, Pencoed in January 2016. She now heads up a small research team responsible for developing the next generation of manufacturing platform in collaboration with Japan, for consumption by Sony factories globally.