Prince Charles invited to outreach programme teaching girls coding skills

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were given insight into an innovative outreach programme teaching coding skills to young girls

Prince Charles and Camilla joined a coding session with more than 60 schoolgirls, aged 11 to 13, in YOOX NET-A-PORTER’s White City tech hub.

The programme, which was part of the YNAP’s partnership with Imperial College London, aims to improve opportunities for local children and help level the playing field for underrepresented groups in the technology sector, with a particular focus on girls.

Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group, said: “We are delighted that The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited our Tech Hub today.

“It was a pleasure to see The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall learning the basics of coding alongside these students.”

>See also: Closing the skills gap: Developing the next generation of STEM talent

Susan Eisenbach, professor of Computer Science at Imperial College London said: “In a world where everyone carries a computer with them (our smartphones) we are very concerned that most of the software we all use is designed by only half the population.

“Girls decide very young that going into Computing is not for them. Through Imperial CodeLab, we hope to break down barriers and excite girls about Computing. equipping them with skills in problem-solving, creativity and computational thinking. We hope to inspire a diverse next generation of tech innovators.”

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Federico Marchetti, CEO YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Eisenbach’s comments reflect the harsh realities for women in tech. Women hold just 16% of IT jobs in the UK and making up less than 10% of tech CEOs, there is still much more to be done.

>See also:  Changing perceptions: getting girls interested in STEM

This trend is not exclusive to the UK, all over the world these sort disproportionate numbers can be found. The lack of girls attracted to STEM subjects is seen as a major barrier for women entering the technology industry.

The learning platform used on the course was developed by Imperial students from the Department of Computing, as a project for their MSc. Since graduating, they have founded digital education startup TuringLab, who remain key to the delivery of CodeLab.

Sam Green, Imperial alumnus and co-founder of Turinglab, said: “Digital skills are critical for the next generation – impacting their daily lives both at home and at work. Turinglab aims to introduce many of these fundamental skills through creative coding and the programme has been a great success.”

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future