A group of women listening to an industry-led talk at Edge Hill University as part of the TechUP programme residential weekend
Participants of the TechUP programme taking part in an industry-led seminar at Edge Hill University

A vital programme that addresses skills shortages in technology and offers women the chance to retrain in the digital sector has scooped a national industry award.

TechUP Women, delivered by Edge Hill University and key partners, has won the Employment and Skills category in this year’s Digital Agenda Tech for Good Impact Awards.

Now in their fourth year, the awards celebrate digital innovations that improve people’s lives and the world around us.

The award for TechUP recognises the difference the programme has made in encouraging women to work in the digital sector – traditionally a very male dominated sector – and for changing ways into work, increasing skills and access to talent.

Professor Nik Bessis, Head of the Department of Computer Science and co-investigator, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and recognises the work we do with our partners to upskill women’s digital abilities in areas such as data science and Artificial Intelligence.

“One of the defining characteristics of Edge Hill is its long history of female empowerment, dating back to the institution’s origins, and it makes me very proud that we have been applauded by industry leaders for our role in getting women into tech, helping us strengthen our commitment to increasing female representation in the IT industry.”

TechUP is delivered through a partnership led by Durham University alongside a group of institutions and industry partners including Edge Hill, Nottingham and York universities and runs across the North of England and Midlands.

Professor Ella Pereira, principal investigator for Edge Hill, explained how TechUP works: “The programme is open to women with degrees in any subject, with a focus on those from under-represented communities and with a mission to develop the next generation of digital talent. TechUP covers modules including cyber security, data science, machine learning, project management and public speaking skills. At the end of the course, participants have the opportunity to have an interview with a company for a job, internship or apprenticeship.”

The programme was launched last year following a £517,000 funding boost from the Institute of Coding (IoC) to retrain women in technology. It is part of a wider initiative, which will see £4.8m invested to tackle the digital skills shortfall across a wide range of areas.

Photo shows female programmers coding at a computer.
Two Edge Hill students making use of the Tech Hub

For more information about the programme, email [email protected] or visit the TechUP website. You can also sign up to the mailing list to be notified when applications are open.

The Department of Computer Science at Edge Hill University is housed in the £13m Tech Hub building, offering research and industry-related BSc, MSc and PhD degrees. For more information about courses on offer, visit the website here.