A national enterprise that aims to improve the gender balance in the technology sector has appointed Code Computerlove’s Tony Foggett as a non-executive director.
Tony, who is CEO of the long-established Manchester digital agency, has been involved with InnovateHer, which aims to give girls aged 12-16 the self belief and skills they need to pursue a career in technology – since last summer. He will now be providing additional support to the organisation to help it realise its vision ‘to get girls ready for the tech industry and the tech industry ready for girls’.
The organisation encourages greater equality and diversity in technical roles by enabling pupils to interact with leading employers and industry role models and learn new digital skills.
Acting as a mentor and member of its advisory board, Tony has been helping the Manchester and Liverpool based team develop its educational and coaching programmes including an eight-week after school programme that is being implemented in schools across every borough in the Greater Manchester combined authority area.
Code Computerlove is also a partner business within the InnovateHer partner network, which ranges from local businesses to global organisations, charities, universities and alternative education providers. The team at InnovateHer works closely with its partner network to ensure that they are inclusive places to work, sharing best practice and providing advice and support on aspects like recruitment and culture.
Speaking of Tony’s appointment, Jo Morfee, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “Tony brings more than 20 years’ experience of working in the digital sector and some brilliant insights from his experience of growing a business successfully. His input has already been invaluable, he has helped us to develop a scalable model so that we can deliver in multiple schools simultaneously. The team at Code have also helped us to design a new web development themed programme, which has now been run in two local schools.
“Tony is genuinely as passionate as we are about closing the gender gap within the technology sector and his own approach to business is inspirational to us all. I know the girls who recently went into Code Computerlove for training, talks and practical tasks with Tony and the Computerlover team came away full of excitement about career opportunities in the digital sector.
“By seeing first hand the inner workings of a digital agency students get an idea of the different roles within a digital product consultancy. They also had an introduction to coding and were shown how to run an ideation session.”
Jo added: “It’s vital we encourage girls to consider careers within the technology sector at a young age and digital leadership experts such as Tony can make a huge impact on these decisions. We need everyone to advocate for this change, male, female, non-binary or however you identify. Tony is a true pioneer within the sector and is a real advocate of InnovateHer and our vision.”
Tony Foggett said: “I originally started working with InnovateHer as a company member business. Our industry has for a while been in a talent crisis, and for as long as we fail to get girls more enthused about a career in the technology this will not change.
“I was blown away by InnovateHer’s school programmes and their ability to connect the students to the opportunities within the industry at such a critical stage when technology is rarely a career path considered by girls deciding on their future.
“What’s clear to me now is the role companies need to play in adapting – creating cultures that nurture everyone’s development and work life. It’s not just a case of helping girls be digitally ready, but ensuring that businesses are ready for girls. We need have to have role models within our businesses and at every level be a place where they belong. I’m delighted to be a part of this journey with InnovateHer as I think they will make a lasting and sustainable impact with the model they’ve developed.”