Love Tech is a non-profit charity that seeks to encourage young girls and young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.
Ruth Nathan speaks to Holly Croydon, a mentor and committee member at Love Tech, to find out more about this charity and to empower women in the industry.
March 8th marked International Women’s Day which celebrates the social, political and economical achievements of women globally. For Love Tech, they wish to celebrate and not only encourage women into STEM careers but break stigmas surrounding women in certain jobs.
Love Tech is run by a group of local female business leaders from a range of industries. It was first founded by Claire Milne of Appleby, Deb Byron of Hansard and Roberta Castle. When they met they all agreed on one thing – more women need to be in STEM careers.
According to Women in Tech UK only one-quarter of the STEM workforce in the UK is made up of women. Love Tech and Women in Tech UK believe this is largely due to stereotypes, not enough awareness in schools and also the gender pay gap. Love Tech’s aim on the island is to bridge this gap by providing some role models for young women hoping to get into STEM careers through their mentorship program.
The team is made up of 18 committee members and many more mentors and volunteers, including Holly Croydon. She currently works in law enforcement using advanced technology as a Financial Intelligence Project Analyst at the Financial Intelligence Unit. Her role includes using different software to prevent and detect crime on the island. Holly explains she first got involved with Love Tech around a year ago.
She said: “I wanted to join to help women who are feeling a bit lost. I know when I came back from University I had no idea what I was going to do. If you had told me when I was sitting my GCSEs that I would now be working in tech. I would say ‘no way, I can’t do IT.’”
Holly believes that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding STEM careers. She thinks more people need to realise that you don’t have to just work as an IT specialist – there are so many different and exciting jobs. Holly explained: “Just because you didn’t study STEM doesn’t mean you can’t go into it. A lot of people don’t actually realise they have transferable skills and they can move industries.”
Alongside mentoring, Holly is also an event organiser within the charity and has made plans for some exciting upcoming events to raise awareness. Previously, they ran an eight-week club called Tech Mums. Here, women met for two hours weekly to learn how to use and become more confident with technology. They started by learning how to google search, then progressed to learning about staying safe online to the last session which explained coding and web design. They had guest speakers in from the police about security, from Barclays bank to talk about budgeting and bank apps and someone to teach coding. Holly said, “It was so amazing to hear feedback from the mums and hear how much the course really helped them.” She said everyone left with a smile on their face and on such a high. Love Tech hopes to run another Tech Mums course towards the end of the year.
Love Tech not only holds events but also encourages females to contact the charity for advice surrounding STEM careers. They can be put in touch with one of the appropriate mentors and there is even an opportunity to be given work experience. Recently, Riela Cyber has offered work experience to those interested.
Holly said: “If you’ve got an interest, follow it. There should be nothing stopping you and if there is, we can definitely help.”
On April 9th, they will be holding another event to kindle the interests and broaden the horizons of young females. This will be a TikTok event aimed to spark excitement around tech. It will be an interactive, drop-in ticketed event which will be available soon on the Love Tech website. It is set to provide an opportunity to make an empowering TikTok video with mentors available to talk to. Holly explained it will be a fun day and the perfect event for young women, parents and any female looking to change careers into STEM. She said: “Girls should be brave and go against the gender stereotypes because as a girl you have a lot to offer!”
More information around upcoming events will be found on the Love Tech website in due course. If you are looking for some help or wish to volunteer, contact Love Tech through email: email@example.com