Cyber Ready Girls' Day

4 November 2016

Cyber Ready Girls Day

Cardiff University hosts one-day event to inspire the next generation of girls to take up a career in coding and cyber security

Sixty high-school girls from across Wales have visited Cardiff University to take part in an outreach event aimed at promoting a career in computer coding and cyber security.

The event, which was sponsored by international law firm Baker & McKenzie and held at the University’s School of Computer Science and Informatics, gave the girls a chance to learn about the history of computing and how to tackle coding problems.

The girls also got the chance to meet women in IT positions in government and business, including 10 Downing Street, CISCO Academy, Symantec, BT and Raytheon, plus a number of other international companies who talked to the girls about career opportunities.

The ‘Cyber Ready Girls’ Day’ event took place just days after the chancellor, Phillip Hammond, announced government plans to spend £1.9bn on cybersecurity until 2020.

Experts have called on the chancellor to invest part of this money into efforts to persuade young people to take up computer science in school, and subsequently plug the skills gap that exists across the industry.

UCAS figures showed that in 2014 just 13% of computer science students were female, dropping from 14% in 2010. Figures from the Institute of Engineering and Technology show that women make up just 3% of IT and computing engineers in the UK.*

Baker & McKenzie have so far sponsored two outreach events, at their offices in The City of London in April this year, and at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, Essex in July, and have plans to roll out the programme across major cities in the north of England.

Dyann Heward-Mills, Head of Data Protection and Cyber Security at Baker McKenzie, said: “The Baker & McKenzie team are delighted to bring the Cyber Ready Girls initiative to Cardiff. The level of interest and support for the initiative has been fantastic. I am passionate about women having a voice in the digital era, and learning key skills such as coding and computer science will enable that. I am grateful to Cardiff University and all supporting partners whom, together with Baker & McKenzie, continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusion in this important field.”

Cardiff-born Pat Ryan, a retired CEO in IT who also developed the initiative, said: “Encouraging girls to enter the fascinating world of coding and cyber was an aim of mine, but meeting Dyann Heward-Mills was the catalyst which brought it together. I was born and raised in Cardiff, so this event is very exciting for us.”