Vodafone, in recognition of World Youth Skills Day 2017, has announced plans to provide teenage girls across 26 countries, including 14 to 18-year-old girls in Qatar, with coding training.
In what is described as the largest international, in-person global coding programme of its kind, Vodafone will partner with Code First: Girls, which runs coding courses for women and girls, to provide a five-day coding workshops for teenage girls across its geographical footprint in Europe, India, the Middle East, South Africa and Australasia.
In Qatar, girls will gain places on the free coding programme starting in October.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organisation expressed concern that “female participation is falling in a field that is expanding globally”.
Men still dominate the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates in most countries. In 2014, around 22% of UK graduates in science, mathematics and computing were women.
The gap was wider in Germany (19.3%), France (21.5%) and Switzerland (14.7%). In 2015, around 19% of female students in Qatar were STEM graduates. STEM fields also have fewer women on boards than any other sectors.
Vodafone’s coding course with Code First: Girls has been created to be suitable for all girls of ages 14 to 18, irrespective of their skills. It will provide basic knowledge of computer languages and development programmes including html, CSS, GitHub and Bootstrap, enabling the students to develop a website by the end of the one-week training programme.
Vodafone will be partnering with schools across its markets, while girls whose schools are not involved can register their interest at https://eu3.advorto.com/VodafoneGrads/Brochure/WorkExperience.aspx. The course will run across Vodafone’s markets from July until October this year.
Coding is becoming one of the most in-demand skills across industries as an increasing number of businesses now rely on computer code. Half of all programming openings are in industries outside of technology, such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing while recent research found that coding has become a core skill that bolsters a candidate’s chances of commanding a high salary.
In its National Vision 2030, Qatar has detailed goals to move from reliance on hydrocarbon resources to a knowledge-based economy; at the heart of these plans are the STEM fields.
However, there is a shortage of trained Qatari citizens in critical STEM fields, according to Vodafone.
Ian Gray, CEO of Vodafone Qatar, said: “In recent years, there has been significant progress in closing the global gender gap in various aspects of society. However, in many countries, the gap is widening in STEM careers.”
“Vodafone’s coding programme with Code First: Girls is designed to give girls an interest in a sector currently more popular with boys, helping widen their opportunities and increase their future career choices. We are very excited to bring the programme to Qatar in support of Qatar National Vision 2030,” the CEO added.
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