The NHS hopes to inspire the next generation of female tech experts with a one-day hackathon for girls and young women interested in pursuing a career in tech and data.
Around 80 future coders aged five and above will spend the day at NHS Digital’s head office in Leeds on Saturday (24 November), where they will take part in a hackathon run by social enterprise, STEMettes.
They will start the day with a session on coding and app-building, before competing against one another to design and create a mental health app.
The event has been organised as part of a link-up between NHS Digital, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and STEMettes, which encourages girls aged between five and 22 years old to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths – or STEM.
Isabel Hunt, NHS Digital’s director of improvement, said: “We are proud to be promoting the opportunities in health and tech careers for girls and young women and it has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm and ideas from the girls who have been attending these events.
“NHS Digital is committed to attracting diverse talent into the health tech sector and we are already in conversation with some of the students who have attended these events about potential work placements and wider opportunities at NHS Digital.”
The UK government has launched efforts to increase the representation of women in tech-based roles, launching a Tech Talent Charter in February that commits signatories to addressing gender diversity and promoting the appointment of women in senior technical roles.
Juliet Bauer, NHS England’s chief digital officer, said: “As Chief Digital Officer for the NHS, I want to see more women and girls looking at careers in the NHS and getting excited about technology.
“Subjects like science and maths can lead to a host of exciting careers as digital services become a priority for everyone for example, in my team, we’re creating the NHS App that will provide a digital front door into the NHS.”
Saturday’s hackathon follows a similar event that took place at DHSC’s offices in central London earlier in November.
Tomorrow’s event takes place at 1 Trevelyan Square, Leeds, from 10am-5pm. The event is free and no previous coding experience is necessary.
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder and CEO of STEMettes, said: “Hackathons aren’t about breaking into things. They’re about bringing people together to create amazing things using computers.
“We think it’s really sad that some people have never been to a hackathon or had proper fun with computer science, so this event is all about giving girls and young women the opportunity to explore and play about in the creative, exciting world of technology.”
You can sign up for the few remaining places here.