Free lesson plans aimed at boosting tech diversity released to UK schools

PwC's Tech She Can Charter has made free lesson plans available for all UK schools in an effort to increase diversity in the technology workforce and boost interest in STEM-related professions.

The program is part of the "Improve Education" commitment to recruit more women into the UK tech industry, which is supported by over 130 organisations.

Schools will now be able to access 'Tech We Can' materials through an online portal, which are tailored for students in years six to eight and can accommodate for those schools with only limited technology access.

They also claim to be adaptable and cross-disciplinary, and inclusive of female students, providing them with role models and a variety of career paths to choose from. In addition to "mapping to the National Curriculum", the lessons meet six of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks, the standard for excellent career guidance in schools.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported that 40% of companies already find it difficult to fill STEM-related roles. Government attempts to entice young people to these careers have made little impact. According to Engineering UK, the cybersecurity industry could face a skills gap of 350,000 workers by 2020.

The Tech We Can initiative, which is spearheaded by professional services firm PwC, has already piloted the lessons with over 700 students, with over 90% reporting that they enjoyed the lessons. The number of students who would consider a career in technology rose from 43% before the classes to 57% after.

About 61% could name a female technologist role model post-lessons, a massive improvement on just 16% prior.

"Technology and innovation is central to the future success of our businesses and economic growth," said Tech She Can founder Sheridan Ash, "so it's vital that we all play our part in developing and inspiring our young people to be ready for the world of work in the 4th industrial revolution."

Current Tech She Can signatories include American Express, Barclays, BAE Systems, British Science Association, Channel 4, everywoman, Girls Who Code, JP Morgan, Kaspersky, NatWest, Nesta, Queen Mary's College, Royal Air Force, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco, Tech Talent Charter, and WISE.

Six lesson packs are currently available: Tech for Communication and Marketing, Tech for Security and Safety, Tech for Education, Tech for Health & Inclusion, Tech for Engineering and Manufacturing, and Tech for Fun.