We recently partnered with Chwarae Teg to host their ‘Not Just for Boys’ event, promoting digital skills and careers to girls from a local school.
Chwarae Teg are a charity that advocate gender equality and inclusion for women in Wales – a mission that DVLA completely supports. As a leading digital and technology employer in the region, it’s important we encourage more women into digital roles and inspire young girls to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
It was a pleasure to welcome Chwarae Teg and the girls from Birchgrove Comprehensive School to our Richard Ley Development Centre for a day full of STEM learning activities.
Let’s take a look at what we got up to!
Discovering emerging technology
We started the morning by introducing the girls to DVLA, what we do, and the activities we had in store for them. We also gave them a preview of the digital career and development opportunities the agency offers.
Then the fun began! The girls were divided into groups, with each group taking part in activities run by our STEM Ambassadors and colleagues from our Emerging Tech Lab.
The girls had the chance to experiment with emerging technology by programming drones and robots, including the Ohbot educational robot. The Ohbot is a fantastic tool – it’s a small robot that emulates the human face and provides several problem-solving activities to encourage computational thinking. Seeing the girls have fun with this was brilliant!
In addition to testing the robots, flying drones, and virtual glasses, each group also had the opportunity to try Python and Scratch online tools, which taught the girls programming languages and coding.
Having fun with Agile and panel discussions
As the day progressed, we alternated coding with some challenges set by our Agile team. The challenges were designed to foster teamwork and introduce the girls to Agile working principles. There was also some fun competition too!
In their teams, the girls competed by racing a Sphero around a track. The Sphero is a small spherical ball that was operated by the girls, who had to learn how to make it move in the right direction. It was an excellent way to encourage interactive learning. I must say, it looked really fun to operate and was just as much fun to watch!
Finally, the girls had the opportunity to hear from our Digital Voices advocates, a panel of inspirational women working in digital.
The panel included experienced female leaders at DVLA, as well as recent recruits on our digital development programmes. The girls listened to some wonderful success stories and learned about the different routes into IT, how to build their digital skills and the opportunities to progress to more senior roles.
Throughout the day, I was struck by how engaged the girls were and how excited our own teams were to support and share their stories – it was a great day all around!
I want to say a huge thank you to our STEM Ambassadors, Chwarae Teg, Birchgrove Comprehensive School and everybody who made this event happen. It was a fantastic experience for the girls, and we had some wonderful feedback on the day:
“The girls have had the opportunity to experience a range of technology and speak to many inspiring guest speakers to gain a better understanding of the career opportunities in the world of IT for women. The activities were well organised; we have all thoroughly enjoyed each session. We will leave today, positive, inspired and motivated.”
– Carla Parker, Birchgrove Comprehensive School.
“Our ‘Not Just for Boys’ events shine a light on career paths for young girls and women. It was clear to see that the students really valued the opportunity to learn more about the digital jobs and career options in their local area, and left feeling inspired by the role models that they met and learned from. It was a really engaging and thought-provoking event.”
– Emily Loosemore, Chwarae Teg.
We will continue to take a generational approach to skills development and building our talent pipeline as we look to inspire, attract and grow potential right across the region. We’re looking forward to hosting more events like this in the future.
Our upcoming Code Challenge event is taking place in December, which I’m really excited about, and we’ll continue to promote digital skills at careers events in our local community. You can find out more about the work we do at our STEM website (also available in Welsh).
You can also visit Chwarae Teg to find out more about the good work they do.