Reflection of the academic year 2014-2015

10846443_698277643618927_7117772084405976106_n

Well what an experience it has been. Our YWIT programme has been a huge success. We have had 18 fantastic women complete our programme. These women are my inspiration especially since some of them had never even turned on a computer before starting the programme. They overcame their fears and not only participated but flourished throughout the year.

Some quotes from our fantastic students:

I have enjoyed the course very much. It has given me the confidence in returning back to work after been made redundant in December 2014. I am not afraid of messing around on a computer and exploring different websites. I feel I have learned so much from the course and I am growing so much in confidence and knowledge in technology. (Orla)

I really enjoyed the course. I have confidence to try new things. I was afraid of computers before the course. I couldn’t even send an email. I wanted to do a course in counselling and psychotherapy but I needed to be computer literate to do this as all the notes etc. are online. This terrified me and I felt I would be unable to do the course because of it. I have completed the #techmums and I am now studying counselling and psychotherapy, now that I have learned how to use a computer. The class was comfortable and encouraging and it will be an asset to me in the future. (Tanya)

I really enjoyed the course. I have set up a group called Social Circle which is a social skills group for children on the autism spectrum and their siblings. In doing this course I have the confidence to go online and help maintain the social media side of the group and I have all the committee using Google drive for all activities. I really feel since doing this course that I have the confidence to sit at a laptop and get all my work on it. I look forward to doing another course in An Cosán. (Ally)
I am doing my 2nd year in a CE scheme and I have just started my own online business. I can now delve further into Google drive. I have gained a lot more interest in Web Design and App Design. I also found coding and programming very interesting. (Lorraine)
Since starting the course it has helped my business page immensely. My confidence has soared and behind the computer screen I am always trying new things. My simple holiday letting page has developed into helping other landlords with jobs like interior design, which is a passion of mine but again I would never dreamed of someone giving me that kind of responsibility. Two businesses have come out of this course for me. (Moire)

These ladies are my inspiration. I am super excited to see what 2015-2016 brings with the YWIT programme. (Sinéad)

Twas the night before Web Summit….

Eithne Harley, Chairperson of the Advisory Council of YWIT shares how it all began.

EH_Blogpost

Writing this post on the eve of the Web Summit is a joyful reflection on my interaction with An Cosan over the past few months.  I work at Accenture and lead the production of our celebration of International Women’s Day every year. An Cosán were the Charity Partner for the event in March 2014 in the prep meeting with Liz Waters, CEO of An Cosan I told Liz about a programme I came across on Twitter called #techmums run by what seemed like a very interesting and highly accomplished woman Dr Sue Black!

140307_NCP1_397

Liz Waters with Miriam O’Callaghan on stage at Accenture Ireland’s celebration of International Women’s Day 2014

140307_NCP1_060

Sinead Kelly, Programme Manager of YWIT with Foluke Oladosu a student of Sinead’s at An Cosán

This “idea” really resonated with Liz who had attended the launch of our research all about trying to uncover why so many young girls are not attracted to careers in STEM. Little did I know that at our  event Liz had a text book “aha” moment when it hit her that An Cosán now needed to relentlessly focus on driving their “digital” journey.  (they were already well on the way with the Virtual Community College).

websummit

As we say in Ireland, between the jigs and the reels fast forward to early November 2014 and An Cosán are exhibiting at Web Summit and the first cohort of women on the new Young Women into Technology course are starting their two year pathway to education and employment in the tech world.

This progress has happened due to the drive and ambition that is core to Liz Water’s leadership and the excellence of her Programme Manager, Sinead Kelly.  It has also happened with a huge amount of support and work from the Advisory Council which includes Peter Davit, Aoibheann Gibbons, Bill Liao and Jonny Parkes. I have the pleasure of chairing the council and have received first class support from my Accenture colleagues Fiona Gardiner and Caroline Douglas.

Big thanks to the fabulous Roisin Markham for her Word Press and design support, Ann O’Dea for general support and encouragement and for facilitating an introduction between Liz Waters and Dr. Sue Black and to Accenture Ireland and Xylinx for their support as Corporate Patrons.

This is only the beginning and the ambition is to take the programme to the corners of Ireland and in so doing, build the right skills for the digital economy, break down the digital divide and bring real diversity to the Tech sector in Ireland by increasing the number of women in the sector. This way – Ireland is sure to become the best small country in which to live, work and do business.

To do this, and to do this right we need funds.  Your support would be hugely appreciated. Please connect to discuss how you and your organisation can be part of this great movement to get more women into Tech and to break down the digital divide.

You will get me on Twitter or LinkedIn or you can call me on + 353 1 646 2057.