Gender imbalance in tech industry starts at school

 

Gender imbalance is a huge challenge for the digital technologies industry, with women making up just 23% of the Scottish tech workforce despite 51% of the population being female.

 

 

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Digital Xtra Fund, a charity set-up to encourage more young people to take part in extracurricular digital activities and inspire them to consider a career in tech, is warning businesses that this gender imbalance starts from a very young age and the best way to tackle it is through inspiring more girls and young women early on.

 

In Scotland today, young women make up only 20% of pupils studying National 5 Computing Science in secondary schools. Kraig Brown, Partnership & Development Manager at Digital Xtra Fund, says this is the number we need to focus on to make a real difference to the future workforce.

 

He explains: “It is essential we inspire more girls to get into tech from primary school, leading to increased uptake in secondary and therefore more women completing Higher and Further Education with a variety of technology related qualifications. Only by focussing on the talent pipeline from the beginning can we make a tangible difference in the end. However, despite considerable effort, we simply do not have enough computing science teachers to reach the level of engagement required to achieve this, and these numbers are getting worse. In 2008 there were 766 computing teachers in Scottish secondary schools, while in 2017 there were only 582 – a 24% reduction.

 

More needs to be done out with the classroom to support teachers and engage more girls and young women in tech. We need to show young women what is possible and make it fun by supporting accessible and relatable activities. Taking tech out of the classroom can also help make the link from something they enjoy and is important to them, to a future career. When you are shown how to do something, such as coding or data analysis, and also understand why the end result is relevant, it’s only natural to be drawn in. For example, research has shown that girls are more likely to engage with STEM subjects when there is an obvious benefit to society or their communities which is why we see a higher proportion of women in life sciences and medicine than in other areas of science and technology.

 

Digital Xtra Fund is currently supporting several initiatives who are doing a fantastic job engaging girls and young women including: Glasgow Life, who are targeting young women by combining technology with fashion and design; Banchory Primary School in Clackmannanshire who are combining coding and robotics with music and dance; and Firpark Secondary School in North Lanarkshire who are running an all-female VEX robotics after school club.

 

Brown adds: “In addition to engaging girls at a young age, it is also important we improve the links between education and industry to ensure these young women, their parents, and teachers have the opportunity to understand the range of rewarding job opportunities in the tech sector. These links also give girls and young women the opportunity to see and speak with women currently in these roles to act as examples and mentors. This is where organisations like SWiT (Scotland Women in Technology) who have partnered with Digital Xtra Fund to support activities targeting girls and young women, play a pivotal role in inspiring the next generation of women in tech.  SWiT  raised funds contributing towards a donation of £5,000 to the Digital Xtra Fund this year.”

 

Elaine McKechnie, Vice Chair for SWIT commented: “We are delighted to support such a great cause for women and young girls in Scotland that can really impact a positive shift in gender for the future workforce.  The Digital Xtra fund is exactly the type of organisation we’re proud to partner with as part of the Scottish eco-system to encourage more women in tech.”

 

For more information please visit: http://www.digitalxtrafund.scot/.

 

 

 

 

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Edesix launch new VideoBadge VB-400 At IFSEC 2019

 

Edesix, market-leading providers of Body Worn Cameras (BWC), will be launching its latest VideoBadge, the VB-400, at IFSEC 2019.

 

 

 

 

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The VB-400 will be predominantly aimed at the policing and security sectors, where officers on the front line utilise BWCs to help prevent both criminal and anti-social behaviour when out on patrol. Additionally, the captured footage not only provides greater transparency of interactions with the public, but also significantly increases early guilty pleas when used in a prosecution.

 

This latest Body Worn Camera from Edesix has been designed to be a simple, unobtrusive addition to any uniform. The VB-400 has a market-leading IP67 ingress protection rating, and delivers full 1080p HD recording capabilities to capture evidence-quality footage, Bluetooth sensor monitoring, and built-in GPS functionality which will greatly simplify camera asset management across large estates. Other features include a full-shift battery life, Wi-Fi streaming, 120 degree horizontal field of view and haptic and audio feedback alerts to show when recording has been activated.

 

"The use of BWCs is revolutionising policing and security around the globe, and the launch of our new VB-400 is going to take this protection to the next level," explains Richie McBride, managing director of Edesix.

 

"Our next generation VB-400 has been built for the connected world, and provides real-time GPS functionality, streaming and the ability to seamlessly interface with its environment. The VB-400's new Bluetooth sensor monitoring also enables hands-free incident recording. All these new features have been designed to assist the connected officer, and undoubtedly means it is the #1 Body Worn Camera for policing and security."

 

For further information about Edesix please visit www.edesix.com.

 

Edinburgh waste analytics company, Topolytics, has been chosen by Google and SAP as one of the top five circular economy technologies globally

The Circular Economy 2030 Contest, organised by both tech giants, set out to find the best revenue generating ideas that can unlock $4.5 trillion of new economic output. The contest, that received more than 200 applications from around the world, was looking at commercial concepts that could scale globally and help to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and/or regenerate natural systems.
 
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Topolytics proposed expanding the scale and scope of its existing WasteMap data platform. Making the system of movements of waste and by-products much more visible and thereby identifying opportunities to reduce the impact of waste management and help to maintain materials and assets at a higher utility. In this way, it helps to enable circular economy thinking and supports organisations and governments in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.
 
Commenting on the recognition, Dr. Michael Groves, Topolytics Founder said:
 
“I’m delighted that our proposition has been recognised by two titans of the tech world. Topolytics uses cloud technology, big data management, mapping and AI to improve the outcomes for waste producers and waste processors. This is therefore a natural fit for the range of technologies developed and deployed by Google and SAP.”
 
Topolytics and the other four ideas are being showcased at the Google Cloud 19 conference in San Francisco from 9-11th April. They will then be given the chance to present to a distinguished panel of judges drawn from the United Nations, World Wide Fund for Nature, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and senior representatives of both Google and SAP.
 
For more information please visit:
 
www.topolytics.com

Scottish Tech firm wins global award from Google and SAP

Edinburgh-based waste analytics company, Topolytics, has won the Google Cloud and SAP Circular Economy 2030 Contest, launched at the World Economic Forum in February 2019.  The contest set out to find the best revenue generating ideas that can unlock $4.5 trillion of new economic output by reducing waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and/or regenerating natural systems.   The award-winning firm fought off tough competition to win the $100,000 prize.

 

More than 250 companies from more than 50 countries applied for the contest and in April 2019, Topolytics was named one of five finalists.  After a two-day intensive workshop, all finalists delivered a pitch that was recorded for the judging panel, consisting of senior executives from Google, SAP, the United Nations, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.   Topolytics proposed expanding the scale and scope of its existing WasteMapä data platform.  Making the system of movements of waste and by-products much more visible and thereby identifying opportunities to reduce the impact of waste management and help to maintain materials and assets at a higher utility.  

Topolytics was announced as the winner on 7th May at the SAP global SAPPHIRE conference in Orlando, Florida.

 

The Challenge organisers commented: “The business idea for Topolytics not only met our judging criteria in terms of originality, but also demonstrated a well-researched proposal with a high potential for advanced application of both Google Cloud and SAP technology. Moreover, we were impressed by Groves’ engagement and willingness to roll up his sleeves during the interactive workshop, where he demonstrated a strong level of commitment to learning and growth. We congratulate Michael and can’t wait to see more from Topolytics.”

Commenting on the win, Michael Groves, Topolytics Founder said: “This is a big moment for Topolytics.  We are extremely grateful to the organising team and are humbled to have won, particularly given the quality of the other finalists – all great companies.  The range and quality of technologies developed by Google Cloud and SAP will undoubtedly underpin the rapid commercialisation and scaling of WasteMap.”

 

As overall winner, Topolytics gets a cash prize, access to Google Cloud and SAP technologies and their global networks.   For further information please visit www.topolytics.com or https://cloud.google.com/circular-economy-2030/

DIGITAL CREATIVITY BOOST FOR SCOTTISH CHILDREN

Digital Xtra Fund, which has been designed to engage more Scottish children in exciting extracurricular digital skills activities, has received a huge funding boost. Due to increased support the Fund has doubled in size from £50,000 in 2018 to £100,000 for 2019.  

 

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Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish charity which supports high-quality, extracurricular computing initiatives that inspire young people across Scotland to understand and create with technology, not simply use it.  The aim is to encourage young people to consider careers in digital technologies and reduce Scotland’s digital skills gap.  To date, the Fund has distributed £550,000 in support of 55 initiatives, achieving an active engagement of over 20,000 young people across all local authorities in Scotland.

 

This year’s funding will support 22 computing projects across the country, ranging from robotics and coding, to app development and the Internet of Things (IoT).

 

Funding and in kind support are provided by industry partners such as Skyscanner,JP Morgan, and the Micro:bit Educational Foundation who understand the importance of engaging children to sow the seeds of interest in digital careers.

 

“Digital skills are becoming increasingly essential for most careers, regardless of industry, so it is vital that we

equip as many children as possible with these skills from a young age, explains Kraig Brown, partnerships and development manager for the Digital Xtra Fund.  

 

“Our mission is to help young people in Scotland acquire vital digital skills through, exciting and engaging digital skills initiatives they can get involved in outwith the classroom.  We are there to help hard-pushed educators who may not have the time or resources to teach these important skills.  The demand for people with digital skills will be insatiable in Scotland in the future so we need to create a pipeline of young people with the necessary digital skills now so that we can thrive as a digital nation.  We are particularly keen on encouraging more girls to consider digital careers as well as supporting young people in rural communities and areas of less affluence where access to computing resources might be limited.”

 

He adds: “We are absolutely delighted and thankful that our industry partners have generously allowed us to double the funds available this year. This will make a huge difference to the initiatives we can support and the overall engagement we can achieve all around the country.”

 

For further information please visit http://www.digitalxtrafund.scot/

 

 

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