Project set to break down barriers for females entering booming tech industry
Dundee-based Showcase the Street is launching a dedicated ‘Girls in Gaming’ programme to help overcome the persistent challenges girls face entering the industry
The tech sector is expanding almost three times faster than the rest of the UK economy and it is worth nearly £184bn. However, gender diversity remains a key challenge for the sector as only 19% of the tech workforce are female, compared to 49% for all other jobs.
Video games play an important part in Scotland’s creative industries, employing nearly 90,000 people and adding £4.6 billion to the Scottish economy each year. For more than 20 years, Dundee has been at the forefront of video game innovation, home to some of the best-selling games of all time including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto. Now, with the proposed esports arena, Dundee will be leading the way in the gaming and esports industry. Jobs in the gaming industry can offer multiple career opportunities using a wide range of creative, strategic and communication skills including designing, developing, and selling, yet women continue to face a number of barriers and challenges entering and progressing within the digital technology sector.
However, Dundee based charity, Showcase the Street, has secured funding to help tackle these issues head on. Next month, the charity will launch a dedicated training programme designed to empower girls to enter, and progress in, digital technology careers. “Girls in Gaming” is aimed at girls aged 16-20 and will provide the opportunity to gain confidence with digital skills, and build knowledge in gaming, esports and coding to enhance career and further education opportunities.
The project has been supported by funding from Foundation Scotland from two funding sources: Social Investment and their new ‘Tackling Inequalities’ fund.
The Foundation Scotland Social Investment programme provides a unique blend of grant and loan funding to enable social enterprises, community organisations and charities to grow and deliver positive social impact. Across the last seven years, Showcase the Street has received over £185,000 through this programme, which has helped develop multiple projects within the charity.
Earlier this year, the project received a further £90,000 from Foundation Scotland’s new ‘Tackling Inequalities’ fund, which provides organisations with the financial support to develop, test, or implement activity that contributes to tackling and reducing inequalities either in their local areas or through their project more widely.
The Foundation Scotland relationship with Showcase the Street began back in 2015, with Social Investment funding that enabled the charity to transform a large disused warehouse in the Stobswell area of the city into the hugely popular Roller Hockey Rink that it is today. Three years later, further investment supported the development of Showcase’s indispensable technology hub, which helps hundreds of local people build their problem-solving skills and confidence, ultimately boosting their education and employment prospects. The new ‘Girls in Gaming’ programme has been made possible thanks to the first-class facilities available within this hub. The programme will include hands-on experience with virtual reality (VR) and Robotics, growth mindset sessions and mentoring opportunities.
Cheryl Jenkins, Operations Manager, Showcase the Street said: “We are really excited about the launch of our Girls in Gaming programme. We all know that the tech industry is booming right now, especially here in Dundee, but the number of females entering the sector remains low. This course is designed to proactively switch things up. The programme will help to encourage girls to consider careers in the industry, give them the confidence to pursue the growing number of opportunities available, and ultimately help them to build a positive career path in the sector.
The partnership with Foundation Scotland has been instrumental to the growth of our charity and the development of many of the activities we offer. We are so grateful for both the funding and their expertise. The team worked with us to help us realise our vision, enabling us to develop our brilliant roller rink, grow and extend our services to reach more people who need us and now supporting the launch of this transformational project which will deliver significant benefits for local people for years to come.”
Ali Kennedy, Investment Executive from Foundation Scotland, said: “We are really proud of our continued relationship with Showcase the Street. It’s an incredible organisation, delivering so many life-enhancing activities for local people. From their sporting groups to dance classes, they mean so much to so many. The launch of the ‘Girls in Gaming’ programme comes at an important time and they are well-placed to deliver this specialist support. It’s great to be here today to help the team launch the new programme and meet some of the girls who are set to benefit from the support. We look forward to hearing about the successes and continuation of the project.
“We know there are other groups that urgently need support to get started or grow, and this is even more challenging in the current climate. We are encouraging all interested groups to visit our website or contact the Foundation Scotland team directly to discuss eligibility for our Social Investment programme.”
Read more about our Social Investment programme here